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August 28th, 2007
Seigo Tarucha amazed researchers across the world with his development in 1995 of an "artificial atom," and his energy has taken him to the forefront of the quantum computing field.
Great things are expected of quantum computers, which if developed to their potential would be able to rapidly perform calculations not feasible on today's computers.
The winner of the 4th Leo Esaki prize, an honor bestowed for excellence in the field of nanotechnology, astonished scientists with his discovery that trapping a single electron in a disk made of a semiconducting material with a diameter of only 400 nanometers--one nanometer is one-billionth of a meter--makes it behave as if it were inside an atom.
Inserting and removing one lone electron at a time makes it possible to see things such as the trajectory and rotation direction of the electron. "It became possible to see the movement of the electron clearly," Tarucha says.
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