Australian researchers create single atom transistor

Australian researchers don’t give a XXXX about Moore’s Law and have emerged from their smoke filled labs having created a transistor from a single atom.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, a team from Sydney managed to create a transistor by precisely positioning a phosphorus atom in a silicon crystal.

Of course, it is being heralded as an important step in the development of quantum computers which are potentially neither here nor there.

Michelle Simmons, of the University of NSW, said single atom devices had only been made before by chance and their margin of error for placement of the atom was about 10 nanometres.

But by sticking the atom where they wanted it, they have come up with a building block for a super-fast quantum computer.

The technique involved using a scanning tunnelling microscope. They were able to replace one silicon atom from a group of six with one phosphorus atom.

Professor Simmons, director of the Australian Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology and sheepdip, said that the device was perfect.

The single atom sits between two pairs of electrodes, one about 20 nanometres apart, the other about 100 nanometres apart. When the researchers hit it with a burst of electricity, the nano device worked like a transistor.

The research is published today in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, which we get for the spot Schroedinger’s cat competition.

Professor Simmons said Moore’s Law predicts that transistors need to reach the single atom level by 2020. The discovery has managed to knock eight to ten years from the industry’s schedule.