Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018

Milestone of energy efficiency in information technology -- Publication in Advanced Materials

At Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), physicist Professor Thomas Schimmel and his team have developed a single-atom transistor, the smallest transistor worldwide. This quantum electronics component switches electrical current by controlled repositioning of a single atom, now also in the solid state in a gel electrolyte.


The single-atom transistor that works in a gel electrolyte reaches the limit of miniaturization.

Credit: Group of Professor Thomas Schimmel/KIT

The single-atom transistor works at room temperature and consumes very little energy, which opens up entirely new perspectives for information technology. The transistor is presented in Advanced Materials (DOI: 10.1002/adma.201801225).

Digitization results in a high energy consumption. In industrialized countries, information technology presently has a share of more than 10% in total power consumption. The transistor is the central element of digital data processing in computing centers, PCs, smartphones, or in embedded systems for many applications from the washing machine to the airplane. A commercially available low-cost USB memory stick already contains several billion transistors.

In future, the single-atom transistor developed by Professor Thomas Schimmel and his team at the Institute of Applied Physics (APH) of KIT might considerably enhance energy efficiency in information technology.

"This quantum electronics element enables switching energies smaller than those of conventional silicon technologies by a factor of 10,000," says physicist and nanotechnology expert Schimmel, who conducts research at the APH, the Institute of Nanotechnology (INT), and the Material Research Center for Energy Systems (MZE) of KIT. Earlier this year, Professor Schimmel, who is considered the pioneer of single-atom electronics, was appointed Co-Director of the Center for Single-Atom Electronics and Photonics established jointly by KIT and ETH Zurich.

In Advanced Materials, the KIT researchers present the transistor that reaches the limits of miniaturization. The scientists produced two minute metallic contacts. Between them, there is a gap as wide as a single metal atom. "By an electric control pulse, we position a single silver atom into this gap and close the circuit," Professor Thomas Schimmel explains.

"When the silver atom is removed again, the circuit is interrupted." The world's smallest transistor switches current through the controlled reversible movement of a single atom. Contrary to conventional quantum electronics components, the single-atom transistor does not only work at extremely low temperatures near absolute zero, i.e. -273°C, but already at room temperature. This is a big advantage for future applications.

The single-atom transistor is based on an entirely new technical approach. The transistor exclusively consists of metal, no semiconductors are used. This results in extremely low electric voltages and, hence, an extremely low energy consumption. So far, KIT's single-atom transistor has applied a liquid electrolyte.

Now, Thomas Schimmel and his team have designed a transistor that works in a solid electrolyte. The gel electrolyte produced by gelling an aqueous silver electrolyte with pyrogenic silicon dioxide combines the advantages of a solid with the electrochemical properties of a liquid. In this way, both safety and handling of the single-atom transistor are improved.

###

More information: http://aph-ags.webarchiv.kit.edu/index-e.html

Original Publication:

Fangqing Xie, Andreas Peukert, Thorsten Bender, Christian Obermair, Florian Wertz, Philipp Schmieder, and Thomas Schimmel: Quasi-Solid-State Single-Atom Transistors. Advanced Materials. Adv. Mater. 2018, 30, 1801225. DOI: 10.1002/adma.201801225

Abstract online at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/adma.201801225

Press contact:

Dr. Joachim Hoffmann, Chief Editor, Phone: +49 721 608-21151, Email: joachim.hoffmann@kit.edu

Being „The Research University in the Helmholtz Association", KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility and information. For this, about 9,300 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 25,500 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life.

Media Contact

Monika Landgraf
presse@kit.edu
49-721-608-47414

 @KITKarlsruhe

http://www.kit.edu/index.php 

Monika Landgraf | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/adma.201801225

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht A cavity leads to a strong interaction between light and matter
22.10.2019 | Universität Basel

nachricht A new stable form of plutonium discovered at the ESRF
21.10.2019 | European Synchrotron Radiation Facility

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A cavity leads to a strong interaction between light and matter

Researchers have succeeded in creating an efficient quantum-mechanical light-matter interface using a microscopic cavity. Within this cavity, a single photon is emitted and absorbed up to 10 times by an artificial atom. This opens up new prospects for quantum technology, report physicists at the University of Basel and Ruhr-University Bochum in the journal Nature.

Quantum physics describes photons as light particles. Achieving an interaction between a single photon and a single atom is a huge challenge due to the tiny...

Im Focus: Solving the mystery of quantum light in thin layers

A very special kind of light is emitted by tungsten diselenide layers. The reason for this has been unclear. Now an explanation has been found at TU Wien (Vienna)

It is an exotic phenomenon that nobody was able to explain for years: when energy is supplied to a thin layer of the material tungsten diselenide, it begins to...

Im Focus: An ultrafast glimpse of the photochemistry of the atmosphere

Researchers at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have explored the initial consequences of the interaction of light with molecules on the surface of nanoscopic aerosols.

The nanocosmos is constantly in motion. All natural processes are ultimately determined by the interplay between radiation and matter. Light strikes particles...

Im Focus: Shaping nanoparticles for improved quantum information technology

Particles that are mere nanometers in size are at the forefront of scientific research today. They come in many different shapes: rods, spheres, cubes, vesicles, S-shaped worms and even donut-like rings. What makes them worthy of scientific study is that, being so tiny, they exhibit quantum mechanical properties not possible with larger objects.

Researchers at the Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility located at DOE's Argonne National...

Im Focus: Novel Material for Shipbuilding

A new research project at the TH Mittelhessen focusses on the development of a novel light weight design concept for leisure boats and yachts. Professor Stephan Marzi from the THM Institute of Mechanics and Materials collaborates with Krake Catamarane, which is a shipyard located in Apolda, Thuringia.

The project is set up in an international cooperation with Professor Anders Biel from Karlstad University in Sweden and the Swedish company Lamera from...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Symposium on Functional Materials for Electrolysis, Fuel Cells and Metal-Air Batteries

02.10.2019 | Event News

NEXUS 2020: Relationships Between Architecture and Mathematics

02.10.2019 | Event News

Optical Technologies: International Symposium „Future Optics“ in Hannover

19.09.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

New deep-water coral discovered

22.10.2019 | Life Sciences

DNA-reeling bacteria yield new insight on how superbugs acquire drug-resistance

22.10.2019 | Life Sciences

Heat Pumps with Climate-Friendly Refrigerant Developed for Indoor Installation

22.10.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>