Researchers at Aalto University have manufactured artificial materials with engineered electronic properties. By moving individual atoms under their microscope, the scientists were able to create atomic lattices with a predetermined electrical response. Due to the formation of the lattices, it becomes possible to engineer the electronic properties of the material through the atomic structure.
The researchers used a scanning tunnelling microscope (STM) to arrange vacancies in a single layer of chlorine atoms supported on a copper crystal at 4 degree Kelvin.
Using their atomic assembly method, the research team demonstrated complete control by creating two real-life structures inspired by fundamental model systems with exotic electronic properties.
The same method can be applied in many well-understood systems in surface and nanoscience and could even be adapted to mesoscopic systems, such as quantum dots, which are controlled through lithographic processes.