This research offers new insights into the behaviour of so-called dopant atoms in silicon. The researchers are able to measure and manipulate a single dopant atom in a realistic semi-conducting environment. The individual behaviour of dopant atoms is a stumbling block to the further miniaturisation of electronics. The researchers have published their findings in the Physical Review Letters.
The electronic industry uses a semiconducting material, dominantly silicon, that contains dopant atoms. This 'contamination' is necessary for giving the silicon the desired electronic characteristics. Owing to the continuing process of miniaturisation, a situation has arisen in which the characteristics of two chips, despite both being manufactured in a totally identical way, still differ from each other. The number of dopant atoms per transistor has in fact become so small (only a few dozen) that they can no longer be regarded as a continuum. The position and effect of each individual atom influences how the entire transistor works. Effectively, this means that even perfectly manufactured transistors will not behave identically. This is an especially alarming situation for the electronics industry, which has already been feeling the pinch for a number of years.
Researchers Sellier, Lansbergen, Caro and Rogge of TU Delft's Kavli Institute of Nanoscience and the FOM Foundation have successfully managed to measure a single dopant atom in an actual semi-conducting environment. The researchers, who work in the Photronic Devices, transported a charge through one atom. Moreover, they successfully measured and manipulated the quantum mechanical behaviour of a single dopant atom. They were able for example to place one or two electrons in a particular shell of the atom.
The Delft researchers used an advanced industrial transistor (a MOSFET), which was made as a prototype by IMEC, a research centre in Leuven, Belgium. In this transistor, which consists of approximately 35 nanometre-wide silicon nanowires, the electrical current flows through a single dopant atom (in this case, arsenic). The nanowire is connected to a 'gate'; by applying a voltage to the gate, the researchers enable the electrons to flow through the arsenic atom (from the 'source' to the 'drain'). By detailed measurements of the electrical current's behaviour, researchers can observe the remarkable effects.
This research however does not offer an immediate solution to the problems previously mentioned relating to miniaturisation, but it does provide the industry with greater insights into the (quantum mechanical) behaviour of transitions on the nano level. The research conducted at the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience Delft is also extremely interesting from a purely physics point of view. The transistor that was researched not only provided new insights into the atomic physics occurring inside a solid, but this also resembles a structures that is needed to build a certain type of quantum computer. This still purely theoretical computer–the Kane design–is based on dopant atoms in silicon. One of the advantages of using dopants in silicon is that the realization of such a quantum computer can rely on the extremely well developed silicon nanotechnology.
Frank Nuijens | alfa
Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves
24.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Struktur und Dynamik der Materie
Move over, lasers: Scientists can now create holograms from neutrons, too
21.10.2016 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences
24.10.2016 | Life Sciences
24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy