Single-atom transistor created by Australian scientists (Video)

By on Feb 20, 2012 in Australia, Science, Technology Comments

A single-atom transistor was recently created by physicists of University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia, with an explanation video available below.

3D perspective of an STM image, showing
a symmetrical single-atom transistor

Image Credit:

As noted in the press release at the official website of UNSW on Monday, February 20, 2012, the working one-atom transistor, which is being considered as a feat in micro-engineering, was placed precisely in a silicon crystal.

According to the report, the study, which was also described in the journal Nature Nanotechnology last Sunday, may yield the elementary building block for a future quantum computer with computational efficiency.

Apparently, single-atom transistors have been realized only by chance for years, where researchers either have had to search through many devices or tune multi-atom devices to know which of them really works.

Despite its small size, the team was able to confirm that the electrodes present on the silicon were contacting the transistor, as well as the confirmation that quantum states of the atom was changed, which follows that it can really be used a transistor.

Nevertheless, Dr. Michelle Simmons, director of the ARC Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication at UNSW, who is also group leader of the research, said on the report that the tiny device is “perfect”.

“This is the first time anyone has shown control of a single atom in a substrate with this level of precise accuracy.” Simmons added, noting that that the one-atom transistors may be common by 2020, or eight to ten years ahead of where the industry is being estimated to be.

“The microscopic device even has tiny visible markers etched onto its surface so researchers can connect metal contacts and apply a voltage.” Dr Martin Fuechsle, also from UNSW, and lead author of the research reportedly said.

“Our group has proved that it is really possible to position one phosphorus atom in a silicon environment – exactly as we need it – with near-atomic precision, and at the same time register gates.” Fuechsle added.

Single atom transistor explanation
Video Credit: UNSW/YouTube

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