Researchers have shown off a transister made from just seven atom that could be used to create smaller , more powerful computer.
Transisters are tiny switches used as the building blocks of silicon chips. If the new atomic transister can be made in large numbers it could mean chips with components up to 100 times smaller than an existing processors.
The Australion creators of the transister hope it is also a step towards solid - state quantum computer. The transister is not the smallest ever created as two research group have previously managed to produce working single atom Transister.
However, the device is many times smaller than components found in chips in contemporary computers . On chips where components are 22 nonometers in size,transister gates are about 42 atoms across.
The working transister was created by replacing seven atoms in a silicon crystal with phosporous atoms.
"Now we have just demonstrated the world first electronic device in silicon systamatically created on the scale of individual atoms" said proffessor Michellie Simmons, lead resercher on the project at the University of New south wales.
Moors' Law predicts that the amount of memory that can fit on a given area of silicon, for a fixed cost double every 12-18 months. The limit of this prediction is being tested as component get over smaller and their compitationally useful properties become less reliable.
If an entier chip could be made with every one its billions of transisters made from the sillocon crystals, it cuold mean an 'exponential' leap in processing power.
The resechers are in a long wayfrom a commercial process because the Tiny transister they created was handmade. The team used a scanning tunnelling microscope to move the phosporous atom in the space.The work on the transister is being carried out as part of a larger project to create a "Quantum Computer".