Original Published Date: 
Friday, March 9, 2012

A functioning miniature transistor  the size of a single atom may just be the breakthrough needed to develop the  next generation of ultra-fast computers.

Researchers at the ARC Centre for  Quantum Computation and Communication at the University of New South Wales have  successfully created a working transistor using a single phosphorus atom.

The breakthrough is significant  because it is the first time researchers have been able to manipulate  individual atoms with such precision, in order to make a working electronic  device. It may be the needed building block for the development of future  quantum (ultra-fast) computers, which relies upon being able to control quantum states - for instance individual  electrons - to deliver enormous processing power.

Lead researcher,  Professor Michelle Simmons said it is a beautiful demonstration of controlling  matter at the atomic-scale to make a real device.

“Fifty years ago  when the first transistor was first developed, no one could have predicted the  role that computers would play in our society today.”

“As we transition to atomic-scale devices, we are now entering a new paradigm where  quantum mechanics promises a similar technological disruption. It is the  promise of this future technology that makes this present development so  exciting”. The ARC has provided $24.5 million over 7 years for  the Centre.

For more information about the ARC Centre for  Quantum Computation and Communication, visit http://www.cqc2t.org/