Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > One and done: Single-atom transistor is end of Moore's Law; may be beginning of quantum computing

A controllable transistor engineered from a single phosphorus atom has been developed by researchers at the University of New South Wales, Purdue University and the University of Melbourne. The atom, shown here in the center of an image from a computer model, sits in a channel in a silicon crystal. The atomic-sized transistor and wires might allow researchers to control gated qubits of information in future quantum computers. (Purdue University image)
A controllable transistor engineered from a single phosphorus atom has been developed by researchers at the University of New South Wales, Purdue University and the University of Melbourne. The atom, shown here in the center of an image from a computer model, sits in a channel in a silicon crystal. The atomic-sized transistor and wires might allow researchers to control gated qubits of information in future quantum computers.

(Purdue University image)

Abstract:


Abstract

A Single-Atom Transistor

Martin Fuechsle, Jill A. Miwa, Suddhasatta Mahapatra, Oliver Warschkow, Michelle, Y. Simmons, Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Hoon Ryu, Sunhee Lee, Gerhard Klimeck, Network for Computational Nanotechnology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.

Lloyd C. L. Hollenberg, Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia

The ability to control matter at the atomic scale and build devices with atomic precision is central to nanotechnology. The scanning tunneling microscope can manipulate individual atoms and molecules on surfaces, but the manipulation of silicon to make atomic-scale logic circuits has been hampered by the covalent nature of its bonds. Resist-based strategies have allowed the formation of atomic-scale structures on silicon surfaces, but the fabrication of working devices - such as transistors with extremely short gate lengths, spin-based quantum computers and solitary dopant opteolectronic devices - requires the ability to position individual atoms in a silicon crystal with atomic precision. Here we use a combination of scanning tunnelling microscopy and hydrogen-resist lithography to demonstrate a single-atom transistor in which an individual phosphorus dopant atom has been deterministically placed within an epitaxial silicon device architecture with a spatial accuracy of one lattice site. The transistor operates at liquid helium temperatures, and millikelvin electron transport measurements confirm the presence of discrete quantum levels in the energy spectrum of the phosphorus atom, with a charging energy that is close to the bulk value. Previously, this has only been observed by optical spectroscopy.

One and done: Single-atom transistor is end of Moore's Law; may be beginning of quantum computing

West Lafayette, IN | Posted on February 19th, 2012

The smallest transistor ever built - in fact, the smallest transistor that can be built - has been created using a single phosphorous atom by an international team of researchers at the University of New South Wales, Purdue University and the University of Melbourne.

The single-atom device was described Sunday (Feb. 19) in a paper in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

Michelle Simmons, group leader and director of the ARC Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication at the University of New South Wales, says the development is less about improving current technology than building future tech.

"This is a beautiful demonstration of controlling matter at the atomic scale to make a real device," Simmons says. "Fifty years ago when the first transistor was developed, no one could have predicted the role that computers would play in our society today. As we transition to atomic-scale devices, we are now entering a new paradigm where quantum mechanics promises a similar technological disruption. It is the promise of this future technology that makes this present development so exciting."

The same research team announced in January that it had developed a wire of phosphorus and silicon - just one atom tall and four atoms wide - that behaved like copper wire.

Simulations of the atomic transistor to model its behavior were conducted at Purdue using nanoHUB technology, an online community resource site for researchers in computational nanotechnology.

Gerhard Klimeck, who directed the Purdue group that ran the simulations, says this is an important development because it shows how small electronic components can be engineered.

"To me, this is the physical limit of Moore's Law," Klimeck says. "We can't make it smaller than this."

Although definitions can vary, simply stated Moore's Law holds that the number of transistors that can be placed on a processor will double approximately every 18 months. The latest Intel chip, the "Sandy Bridge," uses a manufacturing process to place 2.3 billion transistors 32 nanometers apart. A single phosphorus atom, by comparison, is just 0.1 nanometers across, which would significantly reduce the size of processors made using this technique, although it may be many years before single-atom processors actually are manufactured.

The single-atom transistor does have one serious limitation: It must be kept very cold, at least as cold as liquid nitrogen, or minus 391 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 196 Celsius).

"The atom sits in a well or channel, and for it to operate as a transistor the electrons must stay in that channel," Klimeck says. "At higher temperatures, the electrons move more and go outside of the channel. For this atom to act like a metal you have to contain the electrons to the channel.

"If someone develops a technique to contain the electrons, this technique could be used to build a computer that would work at room temperature. But this is a fundamental question for this technology."

Although single atoms serving as transistors have been observed before, this is the first time a single-atom transistor has been controllably engineered with atomic precision. The structure even has markers that allow researchers to attach contacts and apply a voltage, says Martin Fuechsle, a researcher at the University of New South Wales and lead author on the journal paper.

"The thing that is unique about what we have done is that we have, with atomic precision, positioned this individual atom within our device," Fuechsle says.

Simmons says this control is the key step in making a single-atom device. "By achieving the placement of a single atom, we have, at the same time, developed a technique that will allow us to be able to place several of these single-atom devices towards the goal of a developing a scalable system."

The single-atom transistor could lead the way to building a quantum computer that works by controlling the electrons and thereby the quantum information, or qubits. Some scientists, however, have doubts that such a device can ever be built.

"Whilst this result is a major milestone in scalable silicon quantum computing, it does not answer the question of whether quantum computing is possible or not," Simmons says. "The answer to this lies in whether quantum coherence can be controlled over large numbers of qubits. The technique we have developed is potentially scalable, using the same materials as the silicon industry, but more time is needed to realize this goal."

Klimeck says despite the hurdles, the single-atom transistor is an important development.

"This opens eyes because it is a device that behaves like metal in silicon. This will lead to many more discoveries."

The research project spanned the globe and was the result of many years of effort.

"When I established this program 10 years ago, many people thought it was impossible with too many technical hurdles. However, on reading into the literature I could not see any practical reason why it would not be possible," Simmons says. "Brute determination and systemic studies were necessary - as well as having many outstanding students and postdoctoral researchers who have worked on the project."

Klimeck notes that modern collaboration and community-building tools such as nanoHUB played an important role.

"This was a trans-Pacific collaboration that came about through the community created in nanoHUB. Now Purdue graduate students spend time studying at the University of New South Wales, and their students travel to Purdue to learn more about nanotechnology. It has been a rewarding collaboration, both for the scientific discoveries and for the personal relationships that were formed."

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Writer:
Steve Tally
765-494-9809

Twitter: sciencewriter

Sources:
Michelle Simmons
0425 336 756


Gerhard Klimeck
765-494-9212


University of New South Wales media contact:
Mary O'Malley
0438 881 124

Copyright © Purdue University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

nanoHUB:

Down to the wire for silicon: Researchers create a wire 4 atoms wide, 1 atom tall:

University of New South Wales Centre for Quantum Computation & Communication Technology:

Related News Press

News and information

A summary of electrospun nanofibers as drug delivery system: This article by Dr. José Manuel Cornejo Bravo et al. is published in Current Drug Delivery, Volume 15 , Issue 10 , 2018 December 14th, 2018

Vitamin E TPGS emulsified vinorelbine bitartrate loaded solid lipid nanoparticles (SLN): This article by Dr. Sanjay Singh et al. is published in Current Drug Delivery, Volume 15 , Issue 8 , 2018 December 14th, 2018

Researchers use jiggly Jell-O to make powerful new hydrogen fuel catalyst: The inexpensive new material can split water just as efficiently as costly platinum December 14th, 2018

IMDEA Nanociencia and Universidad Autónoma de Madrid researchers have demonstrated that graphene deposited on a metal surface promotes an unusual chemical reaction that would hardly take place under noncatalyzed conditions. December 14th, 2018

Videos/Movies

WSU researchers develop new technique to understand biology at the nanoscale November 7th, 2018

The National Graphene Association Is Excited To Announce A New Affiliate Partnership With Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) November 7th, 2018

How to mass produce cell-sized robots: Technique from MIT could lead to tiny, self-powered devices for environmental, industrial, or medical monitoring October 24th, 2018

A New Way to Measure Nearly Nothing: NIST prototype design uses ultracold trapped atoms to measure pressure October 22nd, 2018

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Researchers use jiggly Jell-O to make powerful new hydrogen fuel catalyst: The inexpensive new material can split water just as efficiently as costly platinum December 14th, 2018

IMDEA Nanociencia and Universidad Autónoma de Madrid researchers have demonstrated that graphene deposited on a metal surface promotes an unusual chemical reaction that would hardly take place under noncatalyzed conditions. December 14th, 2018

Collagen nanofibrils in mammalian tissues get stronger with exercise December 14th, 2018

Oxford Instruments participates in the launch of the European Quantum Technology Flagship Programme ‘QMiCS’ December 13th, 2018

Chip Technology

Oxford Instruments participates in the launch of the European Quantum Technology Flagship Programme ‘QMiCS’ December 13th, 2018

A new 'spin' on kagome lattices: Team's findings shed new light on the presence of spin-orbit coupling and topological spin textures in kagome lattices December 9th, 2018

Harnessing the power of 'spin orbit' coupling in silicon: Scaling up quantum computation December 7th, 2018

CEA-Leti’s RRAM-based TCAM Circuits Meet Requirements of Multicore Neuromorphic Processors December 5th, 2018

Quantum Computing

Oxford Instruments participates in the launch of the European Quantum Technology Flagship Programme ‘QMiCS’ December 13th, 2018

Harnessing the power of 'spin orbit' coupling in silicon: Scaling up quantum computation December 7th, 2018

CEA-Leti Extends 300mm Line and Adds Avenues for Developing Disruptive Technologies: Execution Relies on CEA-Leti’s Fully Implemented Technology With Module-Level Innovations & Devices and Their Architectures December 3rd, 2018

USC scientists find a way to enhance the performance of quantum computers: The method has the potential to solve some of society's biggest challenges November 30th, 2018

Nanoelectronics

2-D magnetism: Atom-thick platforms for energy, information and computing research: Scientists say the tiny 'spins' of electrons show potential to one day support next-generation innovations in many fields October 31st, 2018

Machine learning helps improving photonic applications September 28th, 2018

How a tetrahedral substance can be more symmetrical than a spherical atom: A new type of symmetry September 14th, 2018

Laser sintering optimized for printed electronics: New study sheds (laser) light on the best means of laying down thin-film circuitry September 13th, 2018

Discoveries

A summary of electrospun nanofibers as drug delivery system: This article by Dr. José Manuel Cornejo Bravo et al. is published in Current Drug Delivery, Volume 15 , Issue 10 , 2018 December 14th, 2018

Vitamin E TPGS emulsified vinorelbine bitartrate loaded solid lipid nanoparticles (SLN): This article by Dr. Sanjay Singh et al. is published in Current Drug Delivery, Volume 15 , Issue 8 , 2018 December 14th, 2018

Researchers use jiggly Jell-O to make powerful new hydrogen fuel catalyst: The inexpensive new material can split water just as efficiently as costly platinum December 14th, 2018

IMDEA Nanociencia and Universidad Autónoma de Madrid researchers have demonstrated that graphene deposited on a metal surface promotes an unusual chemical reaction that would hardly take place under noncatalyzed conditions. December 14th, 2018

Announcements

A summary of electrospun nanofibers as drug delivery system: This article by Dr. José Manuel Cornejo Bravo et al. is published in Current Drug Delivery, Volume 15 , Issue 10 , 2018 December 14th, 2018

Vitamin E TPGS emulsified vinorelbine bitartrate loaded solid lipid nanoparticles (SLN): This article by Dr. Sanjay Singh et al. is published in Current Drug Delivery, Volume 15 , Issue 8 , 2018 December 14th, 2018

Researchers use jiggly Jell-O to make powerful new hydrogen fuel catalyst: The inexpensive new material can split water just as efficiently as costly platinum December 14th, 2018

IMDEA Nanociencia and Universidad Autónoma de Madrid researchers have demonstrated that graphene deposited on a metal surface promotes an unusual chemical reaction that would hardly take place under noncatalyzed conditions. December 14th, 2018

Research partnerships

Researchers use jiggly Jell-O to make powerful new hydrogen fuel catalyst: The inexpensive new material can split water just as efficiently as costly platinum December 14th, 2018

IMDEA Nanociencia and Universidad Autónoma de Madrid researchers have demonstrated that graphene deposited on a metal surface promotes an unusual chemical reaction that would hardly take place under noncatalyzed conditions. December 14th, 2018

Oxford Instruments participates in the launch of the European Quantum Technology Flagship Programme ‘QMiCS’ December 13th, 2018

Three CEA Projects Awarded European Research Council Synergy Grants November 26th, 2018

Quantum nanoscience

Oxford Instruments participates in the launch of the European Quantum Technology Flagship Programme ‘QMiCS’ December 13th, 2018

Physicists name and codify new field in nanotechnology: ‘electron quantum metamaterials:’ UC Riverside’s Nathaniel Gabor and colleague formulate a vision for the field in a perspective article November 5th, 2018

2-D magnetism: Atom-thick platforms for energy, information and computing research: Scientists say the tiny 'spins' of electrons show potential to one day support next-generation innovations in many fields October 31st, 2018

A New Way to Measure Nearly Nothing: NIST prototype design uses ultracold trapped atoms to measure pressure October 22nd, 2018

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project