But as has already been mentioned, the biggest practical hurdle is temperature. This single atom device is measured at milliKelvin temperatures, and fundamentally could not operate at room temperature. It still has important consequences, but building computer chips is not an immediate one.
Neither. It just says that someone has gotten better at using a hammer to guide an egg, into a frying pan, without breaking it. And they performed that trick while wearing thick gloves.
"The central achievement of the latest work is to use the STM–hydrogen-resist lithography approach to position a single phosphorus atom between source and drain contacts and two (more distant) gate electrodes."
Also, I take strong issue with the term "single-atom transistor". I would expect to hear that from a crank working out of his secret basement lab. You cannot build an electronic device out of a single atom, and obviously, they used many.
Lastly: "Single-atom transistors represent the ultimate limit in solid-state device miniaturization." That's patently false. Thousands of atoms were used here, so there is likely room for improvement.
http://nature.com/nnano//journal/vaop/ncurrent/pdf/nnano.201... (Transistors arrive at the atomic limit)(A single-atom transistor has been made by positioning a phosphorus atom between metallic electrodes, also made
of phosphorus, on a silicon surface)(2012-FEB-19)
In much the same way we talk about 32nm transistors in computer chips for example - it's understood that this number refers to the gate length, not your whole processor.
No, you would still have a transistor, albeit a non-functioning one, just like you would still have a car if you removed the engine. I appreciate your effort to explain, but your explanation is worded for people similar to those who work in your lab. Definitions should be correct, especially when they are put forth by the NY Times, a news source for the general public. People have already had their expectations raised over "jetpacks for everyone any day now" stories, so it's rather irresponsible to define something new with a name which is obviously false, and which tends to overrepresent, by far, the achievement that the name defines. I actually work with nanotech, but the average reader of the NY Times has little-to-no knowledge of "leads", "interconnects", "power supplies", "measurement equipment", "critical, behaviour-determining regions", "gate length", or even: "transistor".