Physicists are experimenting with Bose-Einstein condensates to create tiny atomic transistors, NewscientistTech reports:
Transistors are the basic components of electronic circuits and are used in a variety of applications, including electronic switches and current amplifiers. Now, Alex Zozulya and colleagues at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, and co-workers at the University of Colorado in Boulder, both in the US, have proposed a way to make a transistor that uses atoms instead of electrons.
The new device would consist of a Bose-Einstein condensate – a super-cold gas cloud of atoms that are all in the same quantum state. This exotic material would be manipulated using three adjacent chambers, created by trapping the atoms using either magnetic fields or laser beams.
The movement, or tunnelling, of atoms between two wells is controlled by the population in the central well. This behaviour is similar to that of an electronic field-effect transistor (FET) in that the left well behaves like the source electrode, the middle as the gate and the right well as the drain.