February 20, 2012

"Physicists Create a Working Transistor From a Single Atom."

It's "a single phosphorus atom embedded in a silicon crystal."

27 comments:

traditionalguy said...

Ah ha. Intelligent design is at work.

chickenlittle said...

Next they should bury a single gold atom in a silicon trench and then put an Xe atom over it to mark the spot.

That would capture imaginations like "Treasure Island" did.

SteveR said...

Why get excited about something like this when the seas might rise a few feet in the next hundred years?

Captcha fail

Patrick said...

"They used it to essentially scrape trenches and a small cavity on a surface of silicon covered with a layer of hydrogen atoms. Phosphine gas was then used to deposit a phosphorus atom at a precise location, which was then encased in further layers of silicon atoms."

I read stuff like this and shake my head at my utter inability to imagine how this is done. I have a very very basic understanding of what they are doing, but how on earth they intend to thoroughly mystifies me.

Plus, the utility, not to mention the mere fact of "simultaneously having two values" confounds me.

Great joke, chickenlittle.

Methadras said...

A big step towards quantum computing. However, this will not see practical application for a long while yet. Excellent breakthrough though.

cubanbob said...

Marvelous.Fantastic. Soon we will have ultra, super fast computer's so bozos like Garage can post even lamer comments faster. Ain't science and technology grand!

Peter said...

All technologies eventually stop improving as they approach their physical limits. Which is to say, Moore's law will eventually hit a ceiling.

One affect that's already apparent is that while there are still more transistors on a chip every year, switching speeds have not been increasing.

And so, we're now getting processors with multiple cores, instead of processors that run at higher clock speeds.

chickenlittle said...

Soon we will have ultra, super fast computer's so bozos like Garage can post even lamer comments faster.

It will cost money though. But garage will be there to defend a subsidy for recreational commenting as a 1st Amendment "right"

Rabel said...

A scanning tunneling microscope operating at the sub-atomic level still couldn't read some of the the recaptcha words.

traditionalguy said...

But can you see it? If you cannot see it, then it may be a force field of charges and be made of no other substance.

edutcher said...

Just our luck.

The Messiah is all green and this is the stuff that shows promise.

jimspice said...

Don't worry SteveR. It's just scientists fudging their data to get grant money. That's how it works, right?

SteveR said...

@jimspice

They wouldn't do that, would they?

I ♥ Willard said...

I won't believe it until I see it!

chickenlittle said...

I ♥ Willard said...
I won't believe it until I see it!

Ye of little fey!

Carnifex said...

Have you seen the new generation of flying drones they're making? They're the size of a quarter. Made by a new method invented at Harvard, one used to take a month to build, with a 85% failure rate. The new method, involving origami, and milling from a single sheet of multi-layered plastic, is precise to 5 microns, and almost fool proof. The area needed to do it in is the size of a 1 car garage.

Add in quantum computers, and solar recharging, and you've got tens of millions of these things flying around, spying on everything that you do.(because battlefield tech always translates to police tech...always)

Ps. Grumman is working on a stealth "mother" drone. It looks like a B-2 bomber, only it flies autonimously. No pilot back at base with a joy stick, just program it and let it go. It will circle a target area(city) releasing swarms of smaller drones, identify the targets with those drones, and then attack the target. When the mission is done or fuel is low it returns home. No humans involved in the actual mission.

Wargamers say there is no defense against this. The drones are so cheap you can flood a battlefield with them, and if you loose one, so what? No cost of training, of fielding, support is minimal. The only defense is to bunker in and wait. That's when the USAF hits you with the bunker buster.

Mike said...

The headline is kind of misleading, don't you think? After all they had a layer of silicon atoms, then another layer surrounding the "trench" then another layer of silicon atoms over the phosphorus atom. All this atomic construction is going to require a new term, since the resulting is definitely not ONE ATOM.

Maybe that ONE atom of phosphorus is doing the switching (from conductor to insulator and back) and acting as a semiconductor.

It's like saying you "made" a working door out of one piece of Lego.

Methadras said...

Mike said...

The headline is kind of misleading, don't you think? After all they had a layer of silicon atoms, then another layer surrounding the "trench" then another layer of silicon atoms over the phosphorus atom. All this atomic construction is going to require a new term, since the resulting is definitely not ONE ATOM.

Maybe that ONE atom of phosphorus is doing the switching (from conductor to insulator and back) and acting as a semiconductor.

It's like saying you "made" a working door out of one piece of Lego.


There is already a term for it. It's called MEMS. Although people might debate whether moving singular atoms around is a MEMS qualified apparatus

Penny said...

While browsing the internet news earlier today, I saw this headline and chose to click on it while passing over, easily, a hundred other headlines. This one felt "important".

Not going to read the article again, because I really didn't understand it the first time.

But it still feels "important".

At least for me, it's extremely comforting to know that people with big brains are WORKING, and not all commenting on news blogs during work hours or while looking "hard" for a job that will allow them to pay off their student loans and move out of their parent's basement.

LarsPorsena said...

'Carnifex said...
Have you seen the new generation of flying drones they're making? They're the size of a quarter.
....................'

Michael Crichton's dream (nightmare) in 'The Prey' come true.

Carnifex said...

The Prey were nanobots that shared they're computational power. Right now its macro...but yes we're heading that way.

If you are interested, I suggest the Light of Other Days by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter.

Clarke and Baxter combine nano technology with tachyon particle physics for a device that can be implanted in the brain that can access all information, past and present, including everything we want kept private.(all the politicians retired-lol)

Cedarford said...

Methadras said...
A big step towards quantum computing. However, this will not see practical application for a long while yet. Excellent breakthrough though.

==================
Agree.
This is a sign of things to come.
Akin to people working on a warehouse sized ENIAC computer seeing papers on Shockleys transistor and Gordon Moore's integrated circuit board. Then imagining that a working computer with ENIAC-like devices processing power and memory might one day be shrunk down to the size of a Volkswagon and costing about as much.

William said...

They're very easy to misplace.

Penny said...

And even easier to lose.

Penny said...

It's time.

Time to start "reeling in".

Penny said...

Mr. President

Rusty said...

Methadras said...
A big step towards quantum computing. However, this will not see practical application for a long while yet. Excellent breakthrough though.

We'll begin to see its industrial applications in less than 10 years.in less than five years after that they will be in everything. Personally. I'm envisioning a cell phone that can be unfolded into the size of an ipad and used as a computer for about 50 bucks.
innovation breeds innovation.
it's human nature.