An Australian team of physicists have created the world’s first – and smallest – functioning single-atom transistor, which could prove a critical building block toward the development of super-fast computers. In what can only be described as nanotechnology at it’s purest – the ability to control matter at the atomic scale, build devices with atomic precision, is the central definition of nanotechnology. Though several groups have attempted this amazing feat before, never has it been accomplished with such puristic accuracy. As if nonotechnology wasn’t already übercool: The transistor itself is composed of a single phosphorous-31 isotope, which has been precisely placed on a base of silicon using a Scanning Tunneling Microscope in an ultra-high vacuum chamber. What’s particularly amazing about their technique is that they were able to position the individual phosphorous atoms precisely.
The Australian teams tiny electronic device – described in a paper published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology – uses as its active component an individual phosphorus atom patterned between atomic-scale electrodes and electrostatic control gates. The Nanotechnology paper elegantly describes a brilliant process: Researchers fabricated a single-atom transistor in which a single phosphorus atom is positioned between highly doped source and drain leads with a lateral spatial accuracy of ±1 atomic lattice spacing. researchers demonstrate that they were able to register source, drain and gate contacts to the individual donor atom and observe well-controlled transitions for 0, 1 and 2 electron states, in agreement with atomistic modelling of the device. What was also amazing said Dr Fuechsle was that the electronic characteristics exactly matched theoretical predictions undertaken with Professor Gerhard Klimeck’s group – using NEMO-3D, a Nanoelectronic Modeling tool – at Purdue University in the US and Professor Hollenberg’s group at the University of Melbourne. Read the full article »»»»