- About Us
- Nano-Social Network
- Nano Consulting
- My Account
|The first to move an atom inside a crystal: Alexander Weismann and Hao Zheng in front of the scanning tunneling microscope|
Nanotechnology is a thriving science. Parts for computers for example are becoming smaller and more precise by the minute. One of the most efficient computers would be the so-called quantum computer. Up to now, its existence has been merely a concept that is based on the laws of quantum mechanics. Here, the ability to control the state of single atoms is decisive. For the first time ever, scientists of Kiel University have managed to move single atoms vertically inside a crystal. This is important for the further development of nano structures. Simultaneously, the physicists found a method for measuring a transistor-like behaviour of single atoms. These findings have recently been published in the scientific magazine Nature Communications (January, 3rd, 2014) as well as in the renowned Physical Review Letters.
When manufacturing nano structures, the understanding, analysing and handling of materials present major challenges. A widely used and investigated material for piezo-, micro-, and optoelectronic devices is zinc oxide (ZnO). As a semiconductor it is built into light-emitting diodes (LED) and LCD-displays. Also, it is used as nanowires in electrical measurement technology. Some of its properties - such as the conductivity of the pure material - have to date not been understood. A major step towards solving this mystery was recently made by Dr. Hao Zheng, Dr. Alexander Weismann and Professor Richard Berndt of the Institute of Experimental and Applied Physics at Kiel University. While experimenting at the Collaborative Research Center "Magnetoelectric Composites - Future Biomagnetic Interfaces", Zheng was analysing zinc oxide with the scanning tunnelling microscope (STM). This device is able to image crystals on an atomic scale. He discovered circular structures in the otherwise irregular surface. "We found that they are a result of zinc atoms that were incorrectly positioned in the crystal lattice", says Zheng.
Each of the discovered atoms featured two rings - a clear proof that it can donate two electrons. "We studied all scientific literature to find out that no-one had so far proven why zinc oxide is conductive. The logical conclusion was that the reason must lie within the newly found zinc atoms, which are naturally occurring in this material."
Further research led Dr. Zheng to discover that the ring's size could be varied while being exposed to experiments in the scanning tunnelling microscope. He asked for the help of his colleague Weismann, who is an expert for model calculation. "The calculation hinted that the diameter of the ring revealed something about the depth of the atoms below the surface", says Weismann. With this it was clear that Zheng had discovered a way to change the position of an atom by a single atom's width. "This is the first time a single atom is controllably moved within a crystal with atomic precision", Weismann stresses. "This ability will be helpful when designing nano structures in laboratories."
Along with their other findings, the scientists of Kiel University noted a behaviour that was similar to that of transistors. This component, which is used in computers by the million, usually requires three contact electrodes. When working with nano structures such as atoms, which measure only 0.3 nanometers, three electrodes would inevitably cause a short-circuit. "With the help of the STM we have discovered a method that only needs two electrodes, one of which is movable." This also is a major step for the handling of nano structures.
The study was financially supported by the Collaborative Research Center 855 "Magnetoelectric Composites - Future Biomagnetic Interfaces".
About Christian-Albrechts-Universitaet zu Kiel
When Duke Christian Albrecht of Holstein-Gottorp decided to found a university in 1665, the Thirty Years' War was over. The State required well-educated young men for service to government, who were to graduate from the new university. 140 students enrolled in the initially established faculties of Theology, Law, Medicine and Philosophy.
The University currently teaches over 24,000 women and men and the range of subjects on offer is spread over eight faculties. In addition to the original faculties, the faculties of Agricultural and Nutritional Science, Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Business, Economics and Social Sciences and, the newest faculty, the Faculty of Engineering are integrated into the university. Where once Max Planck and Heinrich Hertz worked, around 700 academics now pass on their knowledge to students from Germany and across the Globe.
For more information, please click here
Dr. Alexander Weismann
Institute of Experimental and Applied Physics
Redaktionsbüro Alte Schule
Press, Communication and Marketing
Dr. Boris Pawlowski
text: Ann-Christin Wimber (Redaktionsbüro Alte Schule)
editor: Claudia Eulitz
Address: D-24098 Kiel, phone: +49 (0431) 880-2104
fax: +49 (0431) 880-1355
Copyright © AlphaGalileoIf 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.
|Related News Press|
News and information
Display technology/LEDs/SS Lighting/OLEDs
UC researchers use gold coating to control luminescence of nanowires: University of Cincinnati physicists manipulate nanowire semiconductors in pursuit of making electronics smaller, faster and cheaper March 17th, 2017
Research opens door to smaller, cheaper, more agile communications tech February 16th, 2017
Dual-function nanorod LEDs could make multifunctional displays February 11th, 2017
Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms: In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport February 20th, 2017
Research reveals novel quantum state in strange insulating materials February 14th, 2017
ATTOPSEMI Technology Joins FDXcelerator Program to Deliver Advanced Non-Volatile Memory IP to GLOBALFOUNDRIES 22 FDX® Technology Platform: Leading-edge I-fuse™ brings higher reliability, smaller cell size and ease of programmability for consumer, automotive, and IoT applications March 27th, 2017
Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen March 24th, 2017
Harris & Harris Group Issues Its Financial Statements as of December 31, 2016, Posts Its Annual Shareholder Letter, And Will Host a Conference Call for Shareholders on Friday, March 17, 2017 March 15th, 2017
First ever blueprint unveiled to construct a large scale quantum computer February 3rd, 2017
Chiral quantum optics: A new research field with bright perspectives January 31st, 2017
Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers
“Cysteine Rose” Wins 2016 Thermo Fisher Scientific Electron Microscopy Image Contest: Thermo Fisher honors Andrea Jacassi of the Italian Institute of Technology for image of cysteine crystals using focused ion beam techniques March 27th, 2017
Leti and HORIBA Scientific to Host Webinar on Ultrafast Characterization Tool: Plasma Profiling Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer Tool Cuts Optimization Time In Layer Deposition and Fabrication of Wide Range of Applications March 27th, 2017