That thing? The white dot to the right? That’s a transistor that consists of seven phosphorus atoms. Seven…atoms. We know what you’re thinking; that must have taken some tiny, tiny tweezers. But more interesting than how they did it (they used a scanning tunneling microscope to place each atom, if you were wondering) is what this is going to mean for computers.
To give you an idea of just how important this is, current commercially available transistors (i.e. the now-obsolete computers you and I are using to write and read this) have transistor gates of 40 nanometers, and this one had a gate of four. This means that they can cram a crapload more transistors onto one piece of silicon, and possibly have created a major breakthrough in creating the quantum computer. Everything you own will be faster, smarter, nimbler, and just generally better than your dull meat-brain, unless it’s made out of the fundamental building blocks of your dull meat-brain.
Also, it gives Australians something to be proud about that isn’t a rugby team or Hugh Jackman. So that’s nice.
[ via PhysOrg ]