Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (NTT), the Paul-Drude-Institute (PDI; Germany), and the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL: USA) have cooperatively developed a novel quantum dot (artificial atom) and used it to crate artificial molecules with single-atom precision.
The achievement was achieved using a clean surface of semiconductor single crystal thin film manufactured by Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE) by using a low-temperature, Scanning Tunneling Microscope to integrate atoms one-by-one with an atom manipulation technique.
A quantum dot (QD) is a nanostructure that confines electrons in a nanometer-level narrow space to make quantum mechanical effects evident.
Potential applications include optical and electronic devices, display panels, biotechnology, solar cells, and quantum information processing. However, the influence of microfabrication error becomes more serious as the manufactured device becomes smaller. Conventional lithography and self-assembling methods are problematic in the processing precision.
NTT said if the fabrication and characterization of quantum structures with atomic precision become available at the semiconductor substrate surface, this will be a major leap toward the realization of a new integrated circuit technology expected about 10 years from now.