Single-electron transistors (SETs) will take center-stage at this year’s quantum computing gathering, the International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM). Despite successful experiments that have produced working SET circuits, nearly everything about the devices needs theoretical work. SET bits obey quantum-mechanical principles relying on coherent superpositions of discrete states, making possible an entirely new form of computation.
In related news, teams from the NEC Corporation and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology have both independently built what is thought to be the narrowest, stable, carbon nanotubes possible. The cylinders are 0.4 nanometers (0.4 billionths of a meter) in diameter and can, scientists believe, be used as wires in nanotechnological electronic circuits.