By Melissae Fellet. A voltage applied across the electrodes induces a current in the perpendicular electrodes, with the phosphorus atom making it all possible. The basic unit of matter could become the basic unit of computing. A lone atom of phosphorus embedded in a sheet of silicon has been made to act as a transistor. It is not the first single-atom transistor , but it can be much more precisely positioned than its predecessors, potentially making it a lot more useful.
Researchers Create a Single-Molecule Switch – a Step Toward Ever-Smaller Electronics
Single-atom transistor is end of Moore's Law; may be beginning of quantum computing -- ScienceDaily
February 19, In a remarkable feat of micro-engineering, UNSW physicists have created a working transistor consisting of a single atom placed precisely in a silicon crystal. The tiny electronic device, described today 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. This unprecedented atomic accuracy may yield the elementary building block for a future quantum computer with unparalleled computational efficiency. Until now, single-atom transistors have been realised only by chance, where researchers either have had to search through many devices or tune multi-atom devices to isolate one that works.
Extreme nanotechnology: Creating a transistor with a single atom
The smallest transistor ever built -- in fact, the smallest transistor that can be built -- has been created using a single phosphorus 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. 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.
Once unimaginable, transistors consisting only of several-atom clusters or even single atoms promise to become the building blocks of a new generation of computers with unparalleled memory and processing power. But to realize the full potential of these tiny transistors—miniature electrical on-off switches—researchers must find a way to make many copies of these notoriously difficult-to-fabricate components. Now, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology NIST and their colleagues at the University of Maryland have developed a step-by-step recipe to produce the atomic-scale devices. Using these instructions, the NIST-led team has become only the second in the world to construct a single-atom transistor and the first to fabricate a series of single electron transistors with atom-scale control over the devices' geometry. The scientists demonstrated that they could precisely adjust the rate at which individual electrons flow through a physical gap or electrical barrier in their transistor—even though classical physics would forbid the electrons from doing so because they lack enough energy.