NASA has announced that it will award the Distinguished Public Service Medal, its highest honor, to astronomer Yervant Terzian, the Tisch Distinguished Professor Emeritus. Professor…
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. The device comes with small visible markers that are etched onto its surface in order for researchers to connect metal contacts and apply a voltage. A scanning tunnelling microscope (STM) is used to see and manipulate atoms at the surface of the crystal within an ultra-high vacuum chamber, and thanks to the implementation of a lithographic process, the researchers managed to pattern phosphorus atoms into functional devices on the crystal. A non-reactive layer of hydrogen covers it then, where it is good to go. According to Moore’s Law, commercial single-atom transistors might see action in approximately 8 years’ time.