From Chris Phoenix, CRN's Director of Research (on sabbatical), comes this blog submission:
In recent years, there has been increasing acceptance of the idea that atoms can stay where they are put at room temperature. This shouldn't even have been a question -- for those who have done the math, it was clear decades ago that many useful materials and molecules could stay atomically precise at room temperature for centuries or longer. But those who didn't want to believe it -- for example, those who were looking for a reason to think that engineered molecular machines could not work -- persisted in claiming that atoms would jump around at room temperature, spoiling whatever was built.
Recent results have shown that even electrons can be controlled at room temperature. Electrons are a lot smaller than atoms, and thus more subject to weird nanoscale physics including thermal noise, quantum uncertainty, and tunneling. But quantum dots have been built -- out of single atoms of silicon, no less -- and tested at room temperature.
Check out this quote from the research project leader, Robert Wolkow:
So, if anyone tries to tell you that single atoms can't stay put at room temperature, ask them to show you the calculations, or at least tell you what material they're talking about. And if they mention silicon as being an unstable material, as has happened in previous debates in this blog's comment threads... show them the pictures in this article, which were taken at room temperature.