Controlling movements of electrons and holes is the key task in developing today's highly sophisticated information society. As transistors reach their physical limits, the semiconductor industry is seeking the next alternative to sustain its economy and to unfold a new era of human civilization. In this context, a completely new information token, i.e., ions instead of electrons, is promising. The current trend in solid-state nanoionics for applications in energy storage, sensing, and brain-type information processing, requires the ability to control the properties of matter at the ultimate atomic scale. Here, a conceptually novel nanoarchitectonic strategy is proposed for controlling the number of dopant atoms in a solid electrolyte to obtain discrete electrical properties. Using α-Ag2+ δS nanodots with a finite number of nonstoichiometry excess dopants as a model system, a theory matched with experiments is presented that reveals the role of physical parameters, namely, the separation between electrochemical energy levels and the cohesive energy, underlying atomic-scale manipulation of dopants in nanodots. This strategy can be applied to different nanoscale materials as their properties strongly depend on the number of doping atoms/ions, and has the potential to create a new paradigm based on controlled single atom/ion transfer.
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