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February 21, 2012 AT 12:11 am

A Transistor From a Single Atom

Whoa! See that little bump in the middle of the micrograph? THAT’S A TRANSISTOR. From Ars Technica:

a group of researchers has fabricated a single-atom transistor by introducing one phosphorous atom into a silicon lattice. Through the use of a scanning tunnelling microscope (STM) and hydrogen-resist lithography, Martin Fuechsle et al. placed the phosphorous atom precisely between very thin silicon leads, allowing them to measure its electrical behavior. The results show clearly that we can read both the quantum transitions within the phosphorous atom and its transistor behavior. No smaller solid-state devices are possible, so systems of this type reveal the limit of Moore’s law—the prediction about the miniaturization of technology—while pointing toward solid-state quantum computing devices.

It was bound to happen, but I’m glad I’m here to see it!


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