Abstract

The ability to control matter at the atomic scale and build devices with atomic precision is central to nanotechnology. The scanning tunnelling microscope1 can manipulate individual atoms2 and molecules on surfaces, but the manipulation of silicon to make atomic-scale logic circuits has been hampered by the covalent nature of its bonds. Resist-based strategies have allowed the formation of atomic-scale structures on silicon surfaces3, but the fabrication of working devices—such as transistors with extremely short gate lengths4, spin-based quantum computers5,6,7,8 and solitary dopant optoelectronic devices9—requires the ability to position individual atoms in a silicon crystal with atomic precision. Here, we use a combination of scanning tunnelling microscopy and hydrogen-resist lithography to demonstrate a single-atom transistor in which an individual phosphorus dopant atom has been deterministically placed within an epitaxial silicon device architecture with a spatial accuracy of one lattice site. The transistor operates at liquid helium temperatures, and millikelvin electron transport measurements confirm the presence of discrete quantum levels in the energy spectrum of the phosphorus atom. We find a charging energy that is close to the bulk value, previously only observed by optical spectroscopy10.

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Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge discussions with S. Rogge, J. Verduijn and R. Rahman. This research was conducted by the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology (project no. CE110001027). The research was also supported by the US National Security Agency and the US Army Research Office (contract no. W911NF-08-1-0527). M.Y.S. acknowledges a Federation Fellowship. L.H. acknowledges an Australian Professorial Fellowship.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology, School of Physics, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia

    • Martin Fuechsle
    • , Jill A. Miwa
    • , Suddhasatta Mahapatra
    •  & Michelle Y. Simmons
  2. Supercomputing Center, Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information, Daejeon 305-806, South Korea

    • Hoon Ryu
  3. Network for Computational Nanotechnology, Birck Nanotechnology Center, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, USA

    • Sunhee Lee
    •  & Gerhard Klimeck
  4. Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology, School of Physics, University of Sydney, Sydney NSW 2006, Australia

    • Oliver Warschkow
  5. Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology, School of Physics, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3010, Australia

    • Lloyd C. L. Hollenberg

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Contributions

M.F. and J.M. carried out the fabrication and measurements. M.F., J.M., S.M., O.W., M.S., G.K. and L.H. analysed the data. H.R. and S.L. carried out the calculations. M.S. planned the project. G.K. and L.H. planned the modelling approach. M.F., J.M., S.M., H.R., G.K., L.H. and M.S. prepared the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Michelle Y. Simmons.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nnano.2012.21

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