There is a place in Zurich, Switzerland, where sound virtually doesn’t exist. That place is known as the “noise-free” labs, part of IBM’s $US90 million Nanotechnology facility located there.
The rooms dampen sound so thoroughly that if you put an ear close to a wall, your inner ear will “become unbalanced and you’ll feel dizzy and start vomiting,” the architect of the room, Dr. Emanuel Loertscher, told the Register’s Gavin Clarke.
IBM needs these sound-proof rooms to work with nanotechnology, the smallest tech on earth. The things built on the nanoscale are so impossibly tiny that sound vibrations will jiggle them around, making it hard to work on them.
IBM is doing all kinds of stuff in this noise-free world, from making making computer chips the size of human cells to silly stuff, like making the world’s smallest movie starring a bunch of atoms.
This is what the IBM Nano Technology Center looks like from the outside. It's about 21,000 square feet.
Here is the architect, Dr. Emanuel Lörtscher, in a noise-free lab. That hole is a 'portal' to where noise-producing stuff like the air conditioner resides.
Here is a noise-free lab with equipment. That's the 'Transmission electron microscope' that will let humans see and work with the tiny nanoscale materials.
There's all kinds of other wild-looking tech in these noise-free labs. This is a 'spin-polarised scanning electron microscope' that IBM scientists developed to work with the tiny nanoscale objects. That's physicist Dr. Rolf Allenspach looking through it.
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