Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers Shine Light On Atomic Transistor

Date:
November 30, 2006
Source:
Delft University of Technology
Summary:
Researchers from TU Delft and FOM Foundation have successfully measured transport through a single atom in a transistor. This research offers new insights into the behavior 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 behavior of dopant atoms is a stumbling block to the further miniaturisation of electronics. The work is published in Physical Review Letters.

Electronmicroscopic image of the FinFET industrial transistor used for the research.
Credit: TU Delft

Researchers from Delft University of Technology and the FOM Foundation (Fundamental Research on Matter) have successfully measured transport through a single atom in a transistor. 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.

Related Articles


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 the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience Delft 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.

H. Sellier, G. P. Lansbergen, J. Caro, and S. Rogge, N. Collaert, I. Ferain, M. Jurczak, and S. Biesemans, "Transport Spectroscopy of a Single Dopant in a Gated Silicon Nanowire", Physical Review Letters volume 97 issue 20, page 206805, 2006. See http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.97.206805


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Delft University of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Delft University of Technology. "Researchers Shine Light On Atomic Transistor." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 November 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061123115722.htm>.
Delft University of Technology. (2006, November 30). Researchers Shine Light On Atomic Transistor. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061123115722.htm
Delft University of Technology. "Researchers Shine Light On Atomic Transistor." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061123115722.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) Brave Robotics and Asratec teamed with original Transformers toy company Tomy to create a functional 5-foot-tall humanoid robot that can march and fold itself into a 3-foot-long sports car. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Police Testing New Gunfire Tracking Technology

Police Testing New Gunfire Tracking Technology

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) A California-based startup has designed new law enforcement technology that aims to automatically alert dispatch when an officer's gun is unholstered and fired. Two law enforcement agencies are currently testing the technology. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins