IBM has developed a new technique dubbed "spin-excitation spectroscopy", which can control and explore magnetism at the atomic level. The future of computer circuit and data-storage elements may be affected by this technology. New materials and computing devices that leverage atom-scale magnetism, and well as computer circuits with atomic dimensions can be explored with spin-excitation spectroscopy, which IBM researchers also expect to use to explore the limits of magnetic data storage.

"We have developed a window into the atomic heart of magnetism," said Andreas Heinrich, research staff member at IBM's Almaden Research Center in San Jose, in a statement. "We can now position atoms and then measure and control their magnetic interactions within precisely designed structures."