Poking Atoms is Soooo Yesterday. Here’s a Faster Method Getting to Powerful Quantum Sensors
The technique is also more accurate than the traditional method of poking atoms with the tip of a scanning electron microscope. The fine art of adding impurities to silicon wafers lies at the heart of semiconductor engineering and, with it, much of the computer industry. But this fine art isn’t yet so finely tuned that engineers can manipulate impurities down to the level of individual atoms.
This illustration shows how an electron beam can be used to bump a phosphorous atom to a new spot within a layer of graphite
As technology scales down to the nanometer size and smaller, though, the placement of individual impurities will become increasingly significant. Which makes interesting the announcement last month that scientists can now rearrange individual impurities (in this case, single phosphorous atoms) in a sheet of graphene by using electron beams to knock them around like croquet balls… READ MORE