Electrons have been scooting around microchips, or integrated circuits, since the 1970s.
Now, it's the atoms' turn. Physicists using fabrication techniques developed for ordinary microcircuits are creating diminutive devices that direct atom flows.
Atom chips could lead to both more-accurate missiles and more-complex atom-optics experiments (SN: 5/8/99, p. 296), researchers say. The chips might also help usher in ultrafast computers based on quantum mechanics (SN: 11/20/99, p. 334: http://www.sciencenews.org/sn_arc99/11_20_99/bob2.htm.).