Australian Scientists Create One of the Smallest Silicon Wires Ever
Michelle Simmons, from the team of researchers at the University of NSW, in 2003
IMAGE BY Erica Harrison
A team of Australian Scientists from the University of Melbourne, University of New South Wales, along with their counterparts at Purdue University, Indiana, have created a silicon wire just four atoms wide and one atom tall. The wire, which has the same capabilities as modern copper wires, could revolutionise engineering, computing and electrical physics.
Despite being 20 times thinner than conventional copper wires in microprocessors, the silicon atom string still has maintains a low capacity for resistance. This means it has several implications for engineers, computer scientists and physicists alike, Science Daily reports.
The wire allows engineers to design future computational nano-devices, where the sizes are at the wee end of Moore's Law. Thought your phone/iPod/computer couldn't get any thinner? Think again.
This discovery also puts donor-atom based quantum computer closer to reality, a great leap forward for computer scientists.
And for electrical physicists, the results prove that Ohm's law, the relationship between voltage, current and resistance, still applies to the smallest of wires.
Lead author of the paper outlining these discoveries, Bent Weber, says it's extraordinary to see that Ohm's law still holds true with the fundamental building blocks of nature - atoms.
Weber is a graduate student at the Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology at the University of New South Wales.
The paper was published in this month's issue of the journal Science.