Spin Control: Modeling the Transistor of the Future

Linking multiple copies of these devices may lay the foundation for quantum computing.

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. (Gra­fik: S. Kel­ley, nist.gov)

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X. Wang, J. Wyrick, R.V. Kashid, P. Nam­boo­di­ri, S.W. Schmu­cker, A. Mur­phy, M.D. Ste­wart Jr., N. Zim­mer­man, and R.M. Sil­ver. Ato­mic-sca­le Con­trol of Tun­nel Cou­pling. Com­mu­ni­ca­ti­ons Phy­sics. Published May 11, 2020. DOI: 10.1038/s42005-020‑0343-1

J. Wyrick, X. Wang, R.V. Kashid, P. Nam­boo­di­ri, S.W. Schmu­cker, J.A. Hag­mann, K. Liu, M.D. Ste­wart Jr., C.A. Rich­ter, G.W. Bryant and R.M. Sil­ver. Atom‐by‐Atom Fabri­ca­ti­on of Sin­gle and Few Dopant Quan­tum Devices. Advan­ced Func­tio­nal Mate­ri­als. Published Decem­ber 27, 2019. DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201903475