In 1990, physicist Donald Eigler used a scanning tunneling microscope to take 35 individual xenon atoms and arrange them to spell the name of his company, IBM. The world’s tiniest corporate logo made a huge impression on journalists, netting IBM and Eigler’s team news coverage around the globe. And, while the successful experiment was the culmination of more than two decades of theory and research by dozens of teams like Eigler’s, this story introduced many casual readers ...

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