The smallest transistor ever built — probably the smallest that can ever be built — uses a single phosphorus atom, in a breakthrough that could be one more step on the path toward functional quantum computers. Single atoms have served as transistors in other studies, but this is the first time researchers were able to engineer its location and apply a voltage in a controlled fashion.
Ramped-up research efforts at IBM and other labs in the U.S. and Europe could lead to more powerful and more prevalent quantum computers in the near future.
IBM is breathing new life into a quantum computing research division at its Thomas J. Watson Research Center, reports New York Times. The computer giant has hired alumni from promising quantum computing programs at Yale and the University of California-Santa Barbara, both of which made quantum leaps in the past year using standard superconducting material.