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[nytimes] Physicists Create a Working Transistor From a Single Atom

post #1 of 12
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Quote:
Australian and American physicists have built a working transistor from a single phosphorus atom embedded in a silicon crystal.

The group of physicists, based at the University of New South Wales and Purdue University, said they had laid the groundwork for a futuristic quantum computer that might one day function in a nanoscale world and would be orders of magnitude smaller and quicker than today’s silicon-based machines.

In contrast to conventional computers that are based on transistors with distinct “on” and “off” or “1” and “0” states, quantum computers are built from devices called qubits that exploit the quirky properties of quantum mechanics. Unlike a transistor, a qubit can represent a multiplicity of values simultaneously.

Demonstrations of single-atom transistors date from 2002, but the researchers from Purdue and New South Wales said they had made advances on two fronts: in the precision with which they placed the Lilliputian switch; and in the use of industry-standard techniques to build the circuitry, making it possible to read and write information from the tiniest conceivable switch.

The results were reported on Sunday in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

Until now, single-atom transistors have been created on a hit-or-miss basis, the scientists said.

“But this device is perfect,” Michelle Simmons, a group leader and director of the ARC Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication at the University of New South Wales, said in a statement. “This is the first time anyone has shown control of a single atom in a substrate with this level of precise accuracy.”

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post #2 of 12
awesome. i wonder how fast 5 of these would be when put together
post #3 of 12
Very cool. Can't wait to see some "real life" implementations of this.
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post #4 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nemesis158 View Post

awesome. i wonder how fast 5 of these would be when put together

I think a processor built with these would still require a number an order of a few magnitudes greater than 5 transistors to be useful in any way.
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post #5 of 12
5? more like 5billion
    
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post #6 of 12
Does it matter if it's 1 atom if it has to be embedded in a crystal of other atoms? Still, good progress. Next up, sub-atomic transistors?
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post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by lordikon View Post

Does it matter if it's 1 atom if it has to be embedded in a crystal of other atoms? Still, good progress. Next up, sub-atomic transistors?

cannot wait for sub-atomic transistors


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post #8 of 12
The real question is:
Will it run crysis?
    
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post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skiivari View Post

The real question is:
Will it run crysis?

more like fold
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post #10 of 12
I've already connected my PSU to my motherboard using a single atom - one copper atom embedded in a copper crystal. rolleyes.gif

It's cool to read about the advances in quantum computing, but the actual story behind the sensationalist headline was unworthy of the mental "woah" the headline alone evoked. I'm not really sure what I was expecting, or how to manipulate a single atom in the absence of other atoms. Maybe that was the mystery that I was disappointed to have ruined by facts.
Quote:
Originally Posted by IXcrispyXI View Post

more like fold

It will very accurately model the behavior of a single atom, and it real time no less! biggrin.gif
Edited by willis888 - 2/20/12 at 12:25am
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