SiAM - Silicon at the Atomic and Molecular scale

SiAM aims at exploiting in future ICT devices and circuits the atomic nature of dopants used throughout microelectronics. The key idea is to use the very sharp, deep and reproducible potential created by a dopant in a semiconductor host crystal. Despite its small size (on the scale of the Bohr radius), the donor state of a single dopant can be addressed with conventional lithography techniques, and is therefore perfectly suitable for realistic devices exploiting the quantum nature of single atoms.

The project relies on:

  • The extremely mature silicon technology in which, however, no quantum mechanical or atomic properties are at play when dopant atoms are used.
  • The very atomic nature of these dopants.

The consortium will investigate dopants:

  • At the device level, with the demonstration of atomic devices (single dopant) and molecular devices (coupled dopants). A crucial effort towards integration of deterministic implantation in CMOS technology will be made.
  • In the theoretical understanding, for exploiting the specific features of dopant-based devices, especially time-dependent processes.
  • At the system level, with circuits exploiting the atomic characteristics of dopant based devices.

The consortium brings together three methods for fabricating single-atom transistors: top-down silicon fabrication, bottom-up growth of nanowires and Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM)-assisted fabrication. This is a unique combination of expertises only available in Europe. In addition, metrology and theory experts will exploit time-dependent phenomena in atomic devices for applications such as electron pumps. Another opportunity is to address directly the spin of a single dopant and make use of its extremely long coherence time to make a single atom quantum bit, crucial for applications in spintronics and quantum computation.

Target outcomes:

Dopant-based devices: (i) atomically-precise dopant junctions realized with STM-assisted hydrogen resist lithography, (ii) single-atom transistors and pumps made in a silicon foundry and (iii) single atom spin quantum bit made in bottom-up silicon nanowires. Time-dependent theory: the apparent limitation of non-adiabaticity will be turned into an advantage by exploiting the dynamical delays due to non-adiabaticity for robust single-gate operation. Integration of the dopant-based CMOS devices in a circuit will be realized. STM-assisted lithography will be performed on silicon-on-insulator wafers with special surface preparation and capping, in order to avoid the usual surface preparation at very high temperature. Finally, the development of nanovias will pave the way for reintegration of STM defined donor device chips into a CMOS flowchart.



Project Partners


IBM Zurich

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University of Latvia

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University of Twente

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Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux energies alternatives (CEA)

The CEA is the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives). It is a public body established in October 1945 by General de Gaulle. A leader in research, development and innovation, the mission statement has two main objectives: to become the leading technological research organization in Europe and to ensure that the nuclear deterrent remains effective in the future.

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With 500 people in 6 laboratories, each a joint research unit with University Joseph Fourier, and some with CNRS and Grenoble-INP, INAC is a major player in basic research. INAC research focus are on nanoscience (70 %), namely photonics, spintronics, nanoelectronics, polymer science and nanochemistry, on cryogenic technologies (15 %) mainly for space and large instruments, on health (DNA damages) and biosensors (9 %) and on correlated electron systems (superconductivity) (7 %). INAC develops strong activities in nano- and material characterization (synchrotron, neutrons, NMR and EPR, TEM, ions…) through internal or shared research centres and with INAC research groups located at ESRF and ILL. INAC manages with the FMNT (a Grenoble research federation) a 700 m2 clean room for upstream research. INAC has three major commitments: creating frontier science results in basic research (350 publications per year), taking care of valorising opportunities of applications (through typ. 20 patents per year, start ups and partnerships with applied research), training of first class scientists through PhDs (110 ongoing) and post docs (50 ongoing).

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LETI is a research institute of CEA on materials, processes and technologies. Its mission is to develop innovative solutions leading to industrial transfers or start-up creation, and meanwhile to explore prospective fields in collaboration with academia. LETI’s activities cover Si technology, microsystem technology, optical components, multimedia, transmission and telecommunication systems, design, and micro-technologies for health and biology. The driving programs of LETI are linked with Minatec (the innovation center in micro- and nanotechnologies) and Nanotec300 (300mm infrastructure to take the challenge of micro- and nano-electronics). CEA-LETI has a strong experience in microelectronics, and especially in advanced CMOS technologies. Its activities cover the study of innovative substrates and devices for sub 22nm nodes. It has fabricated aggressive lengths MOS transistors on ultrathin SOI (Si thickness down to 2.5nm), strained-Silicon on Insulator (sSOI), SiGe-On-Insulator (SGOI) and GeOI substrates. CEA-LETI is focused on alternative solutions for CMOS down scaling (high-k dielectrics, metal gates, Raised Source/Drain, Metallic S/D…) and also on innovative CMOS integration schemes like nanowire transistors, multi-channel transistors and 3D integration of Ge on Si CMOS.


LETI was an early adopter of 3D since its first Through-Silicon-Via (TSV) patent dated from 1988, for connecting magnetic heads from the backside. In 2004 the 3D technology ramped up with strong R&D efforts for CMOS image sensors with a successful technology transfer to STMicroelectronics into a product. Since then CEA LETI has been involved in many different projects with industrial or collaborative consortium like E.U. programs aiming at developing 3D (ELITE, eCUBES, 3DICES, COCOA, etc...). LETI has developed a large panel of technology modules (like chip interconnects, TSV, temporary bonding) making 3D available for a wide range of applications.

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IBM Zurich

IBM’s Zürich Research Laboratory (ZRL), with approximately 240 employees, 50 PhD and postdoctoral students, and 30 visiting scientists, is the European branch of the IBM Research Division with headquarters at the T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY, USA. Throughout the history of the Zürich Laboratory, scientists have made major contributions to the advancement of knowledge in solid-state physics, stimulated by problems relevant to technology. Most notably, the invention of scanning tunneling and atomic force microscopes and the discovery of high-temperature superconductivity were awarded Nobel prices. In spring 2011 IBM, in close partnership with ETH Zurich, opened the Binning and Rohrer Nanocenter, a state of the art 1000m2 clean-room including several labs offering an unprecedented noise-free environment.

The “Physics of Nanoscale Systems” group at IBM has strong expertise in the fields of growth/characterization of semiconductor and ferromagnetic materials, nanofabrication, scanning probe techniques, ultra-fast optical spectroscopy, and low-noise transport measurements.

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University of Latvia

University of Latvia (LU) is the largest academic university in the Republic of Latvia and one of the leading research institutions in the Baltic region of EU. The Department of Physics within the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics conducts basic research in several areas of nanoscience and technology in cooperation with other LU departments and research institutions in Latvia and abroad. Around 10 PhD and 15 master students are involved in research at the Department of Physics.

LU will be represented in the project by the Quantum nanoelectronics theory group within the Department of Physics. During the last five years (2008-2012) the group has published fifteen research papers devoted to various aspects of quantum transport in quantum dots and nanostructures, including 7 joint articles with PTB in Braunschweig, Germany. The proven synergy of this theory-experiment collaboration will be put to maximal use in the present project. In 2009-2012 the Quantum nanoelectronics theory group has been closely collaborating with the quantum computer science group at the Faculty of Computing of LU under a joint research project “Computer science and its relations to quantum physics” supported by EC within the European Social Fund framework (85% EC contribution). Excellence of research in quantum technologies at LU has been been recognized by an annual prize from Latvian Academy of Sciences to quantum computer science and quantum nanoelectronics group leaders in 2012 and 2013.

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The PTB Department of Semiconductor Physics and Magnetism carries out research and development work on semiconductor quantum standards, which allow one to base electrical units on fundamental constants. It has a strong expertise in low temperature magneto transport characterization of metallic and semiconductor nanostructures. Systems ranging from semiconductor quantum dots to quantum Hall systems have been investigated. Additionally, electrical measurements of ultra-fast spin dynamics of magnetic nanostructures are carried out.

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University of Twente

The group at the University of Twente is part of the MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology: one of the largest nanotechnology research institutes in the world, employing 500 people of which 275 PhDs and post-docs. In the summer of 2010 the institute has moved to a newly built complex, including cleanroom, laboratories and office space. With its national NanoLab facilities the institute holds 1250 m2 of cleanroom space and state-of-the-art research equipment, to which the research group in this proposal has full access.

All necessary infrastructure for successfully establishing the fabrication process of single-atom transistors is present, in particular high-quality electron-beam lithography. In addition, MESA+ has top-end atomic layer deposition facilities for high quality gate oxides. High-resolution SEM and TEM, STM, AFM and XPS are readily available, including dedicated technical support staff.

The NanoElectronics group possesses a number of cryogenic measurement setups for low-temperature electron transport measurements and magnetic characterization. A 3He cryostat (Oxford Heliox VL) is suitable for low-noise transport measurements down to 235 mK, up to 10 Tesla. For transport measurements down to ~10 mK, a dilution refrigerator has been purchased within the group leader's ERC Starting Grant project (Van der Wiel). Custom-built measurement electronics in these set-ups give a current noise floor of ~20 fA.

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Project Publications


B. Voisin, R. Maurand, S. Barraud, M. Vinet, X. Jehl, M. Sanquer, J. Renard, and S. De Franceschi, Electrical Control of g-Factor in a Few-Hole Silicon Nanowire MOSFET, NANO Letters (2015)

B. Kaestner, V. Kashcheyevs, Non-adiabatic quantized charge pumping with tunable-barrier quantum dots: a review of current progress, Rep. Prog. Phys. 78, 103901 (2015)

P. Clapera, S. Ray, X.Jehl, M. Sanquer, A. Valentian, and S. Barraud, Design and Cryogenic Operation of a Hybrid Quantum-CMOS Circuit, Physical Review Applied 4, 044009 (2015)


B. J. Villis, A. O. Orlov, S. Barraud, M. Vinet, M. Sanquer, P. Fay, G. Snider, and X. Jehl, Direct detection of a transport- blocking trap in a nanoscaled silicon single-electron transistor by radio-frequency reflectometry, Applied Physics Letters 104, 233503 (2014)

Background publications


Barraud S., Hartmann J.-M., Maffini-Alvaro V., Tosti L., Delaye V., Lafond D., Top-Down Fabrication of Epitaxial SiGe/Si Multi-(Core/Shell) p-FET Nanowire Transistors, IEEE transactions on electron devices, Vol. 61, No. 4(2014)

Benoit Voisin, Viet-Hung Nguyen, Julien Renard, Xavier Jehl, Sylvain Barraud, François Triozon, Maud Vinet, Ivan Duchemin, Yann-Michel Niquet, Silvano de Franceschi, and Marc Sanquer, Few-Electron Edge-State Quantum Dots in a Silicon Nanowire Field-Effect Transistor, NanoLetters, Article asap (2014)


B. Roche, R.-P. Riwar, B. Voisin, E. Dupont-Ferrier, R. Wacquez, M. Vinet, M. Sanquer, J. Splettstoesser, X. Jehl, A two-atom electron pump, Nature Communications 4, 1581 (2013)

F.A. Zwanenburg, A.S. Dzurak, A. Morello, M.Y. Simmons, L.C.L. Hollenberg, G. Klimeck, S. Rogge, S.N. Coppersmith & M.A. Eriksson, Silicon quantum electronics, Rev. Mod. Phys. 85, 961–1019 (2013)

L. Fricke, M. Wulf, B. Kaestner, V. Kashcheyevs, J. Timoshenko, P. Nazarov, F. Hohls, Ph. Mirovsky, B. Mackrodt, R. Dolata, Th. Weimann, K. Pierz, H. W. Schumacher, Counting statistics for electron capture in a dynamic quantum dot, Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 126803 (2013)


B. Roche, E. Dupont-Ferrier, B. Voisin, M. Cobian, X. Jehl, R. Wacquez, M. Vinet, Y.-M. Niquet, and M. Sanquer, Detection of a Large Valley-Orbit Splitting in Silicon with Two-Donor Spectroscopy, Phys. Rev. Lett. 108, 206812 (2012).

X. Jehl et al., Multi-charge pumping at 1GHz with a hybrid metal/semiconductor device, CPEM 2012 digest pp. 250-251, 2012

B. Roche, B. Voisin, X. Jehl, R. Wacquez, M. Sanquer, M. Vinet, V. Deshpande, B. Previtali, A tunable, dual mode field-effect or single electron transistor, Appl. Phys. Lett. 100, 032107 (2012)

Deshpande et al.,  300 K Operating Full-CMOS Integrated Single Electron Transistor (SET)-FET Circuits, Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM), 2012 IEEE International,  2012.

R. Coquand et al., Strain-induced performance enhancement of tri-gate and omega-gate nanowire FETs scaled down to 10nm Width, VLSI Technology Symposium, 2012.

R. Wacquez et al., Single dopant impact on electrical characteristics of SOI NMOSFETs with effective length down to 10nm, VLSI Technology Symposium, 2012.

A. Villalon et al., « Strained Tunnel FETs with record Ion: First demonstration of ETSOI TFETs with SiGe channel and RSD», 2012 symposium on VLSI technology, pp.49-50, 2012.

V. Barral et al., Strained FDSOI CMOS technology scalability down to 2.5 nm film thickness and 18nm gate length with a TiN/HfO2 gate stack, Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM), 2012 IEEE International,  2012

Colonna J.-P., Coudrain P., Garnier G., Chausse P., Segaud R., Aumont C., Jouve A., Hotellier N., Frank T., Brunet-Manquat C., Cheramy S. and Sillon N., Electrical and Morphological Assessment of Via Middle and Backside Process Technology for 3DIntegration, IEEE conference on Electronic Components and Technology (ECTC), 2012.

A. Fuhrer, F. J. Rueß, N. Moll, A. Curioni, and D. Widmer, “Atomic structure of Mn wires on Si(001) resolved by scanning tunneling microscopy”, Phys. Rev. Lett. 109, 146102 (2012).

B. Weber, S. Mahapatra, H. Ryu, S. Lee, A. Fuhrer, T. C. G. Reusch, D. L. Thompson, W. C. T. Lee, G. Klimeck, L. C. L. Hollenberg, et al., “Ohm's law survives to the atomic scale” Science 335, 64 (2012).

V. Kashcheyevs and J. Timoshenko, Quantum fluctuations and coherence in high-precision single-electron capture, Phys. Rev. Lett. 104, 186805 (2012).

V. Kashcheyevs, A. Tamburrano, and M. S. Sarto, Quantum transport and current distribution at radio frequency in multiwall carbon nanotubes, IEEE Trans. Nanotechnol. 11, 492 (2012).


B. J. Villis, A. O. Orlov, X. Jehl, G. L. Snider, P. Fay, and M. Sanquer, Defect detection in nano-scale transistors based on radiofrequency reflectometry, Appl Phys. Lett. 99, 152106 (2011)

N.S. Lai, W.H. Lim, C.H. Yang, F.A. Zwanenburg, W. A. Coish, F. Qassemi, A. Morello & A.S. Dzurak, Pauli spin blockade in a highly tunable silicon double quantum dot, Scientific Reports 1, 110, (2011).

About the 7th framework programme

Knowledge lies at the heart of the European Union»s Lisbon Strategy to become the “most dynamic competitive knowledge-based economy in the world”. The «knowledge triangle» – research, education and innovation – is a core factor in European efforts to meet the ambitious Lisbon goals. Numerous programmes, initiatives and support measures are carried out at EU level in support of knowledge.

The Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) bundles all research-related EU initiatives together under a common roof playing a crucial role in reaching the goals of growth, competitiveness and employment; along with a new Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP), Education and Training programmes, and Structural and Cohesion Funds for regional convergence and competitiveness. It is also a key pillar for the European Research Area (ERA).

To find out more about the European 7the Framework Programme, please visit the European Commission website.

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