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Opportunity at National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Atomically Precise Patterning to Enable Single Atom Transistors and Solid State Quantum Devices


Physical Measurement Laboratory, Engineering Physics Division

RO# Location
50.68.31.B8024 Gaithersburg, MD

Please note: This Agency only participates in the February and August reviews.


Name E-mail Phone
Silver, Richard M. 301.975.5609


Controlling the quantum state of individual electrons is a challenge central to many fundamental measurements and future computation architectures. We are fabricating and measuring solid state implementations of atomically precise devices with applications to both beyond CMOS and quantum computing. The research plan includes the use of atomically precise patterning to deterministically place dopant atoms in a Si lattice to make prototype atom-based solid state devices, measurement of the properties of individual atomically precise dopants, and development of the infrastructure to explore CMOS devices at their fundamental limits (e.g., "single-atom transistors"). This project focuses on developing the fundamental infrastructure of fabrication and measurement needed to reach the ultimate scaling limits for Si CMOS devices and to implement a viable path to solid state quantum computing based on individual donor qubits.

Advances in fabrication of 3D structures with near atomic precision via direct patterning and dopant placement on an atomically defined surface are set to have an enormous impact on quantum device research. Atomically precise placement of dopant atoms is a key to developing atomic scale devices. Additionally, recent advances at NIST in robust Si fiducial marks enabling contact between the atomic and macroscopic world along with advances in STM that achieve robust atomic scale fabrication provide a path to the viable fabrication of quantum devices and electron measurements at scales never before achievable. We are developing fabrication methods for silicon quantum island structures that can be electronically manipulated and measured.

These devices require structures based on individual atoms, each precisely placed within a controlled environment. To realize the necessary atomic precision, we are using hydrogen-based scanning probe lithography. H atoms are selectively removed from Si dimers which form activated sites that can be further processed. The exposed or activated Si atoms can selectively adsorb a dopant atom (phosphorus) and, with subsequent thermal processing and Si overgrowth, provide the basis for atomically precise dopant placement. We are using this fundamental infrastructure to evaluate the ultimate scaling limit of Si CMOS and applications in solid-state atom-based quantum devices. This research also has significant spinoff applications using atomically precise 3-D quantum structures for use as sensors.


CMOS; Scanning probe lithography; 3-dimensional nanostructures; Nano-fabrication; Quantum devices;


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral applicants
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