Transistor made with a Single Atom Active Region

Figure caption:
(a) Colored scanning electron microscope image of the measured device. Aluminum top gate is used to induce a two-dimensional electron layer at the silicon-silicon oxide interface below the metallization. The barrier gate is partially below the top gate and depletes the electron layer in the vicinity of the phosphorus donors (the red spheres added to the original image). The barrier gate can also be used to control the conductivity of the device. All the barrier gates in the figure form their own individual transistors.
(b) Measured differential conductance through the device at 4 Tesla magnetic field. The red and the yellow spheres illustrate the spin-down and -up states of a donor electron which induce the lines of high conductivity clearly visible in the figure.

Researchers from Helsinki University of Technology (Finland), University of New South Wales (Australia), and University of Melbourne (Australia) have succeeded in building a working transistor, whose active region composes only of a single phosphorus atom in silicon. The results have just been published in Nano Letters.

The working principles of the device are based on sequential tunneling of single electrons between the phosphorus atom and the source and drain leads of the transistor. The tunneling can be suppressed or allowed by controlling the voltage on a nearby metal electrode with a width of a few tens of nanometers.

Nanoletters: Transport Spectroscopy of Single Phosphorus Donors in a Silicon Nanoscale Transistor

We have developed nanoscale double-gated field-effect-transistors for the study of electron states and transport properties of single deliberately implanted phosphorus donors. The devices provide a high-level of control of key parameters required for potential applications in nanoelectronics. For the donors, we resolve transitions corresponding to two charge states successively occupied by spin down and spin up electrons. The charging energies and the Land g-factors are consistent with expectations for donors in gated nanostructures.