The Single-Atom Transistor

Thomas Schimmel 1,2Fangqing Xie 2Christian Obermair 2

1. Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe (FZK), Postfach 3640, Karlsruhe D-76021, Germany
2. Universität Karlsruhe (TH), Institut für Angewandte Physik, Wolfgang-Gaede-Str. 1, Karlsruhe 76131, Germany


An atomic-scale quantum conductance switch is demonstrated which allows to open and close an electrical circuit by the controlled and reproducible reconfiguration of individual silver atoms within an atomic-scale junction [1,2]. The only movable parts of the switch are the contacting atoms. The device is fabricated by electrochemical deposition of silver atoms and is entirely controlled by an external voltage applied to an independent third gate electrode. Controlled switching was performed between a quantized, electrically conducting “on-state” exhibiting a conductance of G0 = 2e2/h (≈ 1/12.9kΩ) or preselectable multiples of this value and an insulating “off-state”. The device, which reproducibly operates at room temperature, represents an atomic transistor or relay, opening intriguing perspectives for the emerging fields of quantum electronics and logics on the atomic scale.

[1] F.-Q. Xie, L. Nittler, Ch. Obermair and Th. Schimmel,

Phys. Rev. Lett. 93(12) 128303, (2004)

[2] F.-Q. Xie, Ch. Obermair and Th. Schimmel,

Solid State Commun. 132, 437 (2004)


Related papers
  1. The Single-Atom Transistor
  2. Chemical Patterning and Chemical Contrast Imaging with the Tip of an Atomic Force Microscope

Presentation: Invited at E-MRS Fall Meeting 2007, Acta Materialia Gold Medal Workshop, by Thomas Schimmel
See On-line Journal of E-MRS Fall Meeting 2007

Submitted: 2007-07-21 08:01
Revised:   2009-06-07 00:44