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Transistor created from a single molecule and a dozen atoms

by Mark Tyson on 21 July 2015, 12:06

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qacs26

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An international team assembled from US, Germany and Japan-based physicists has created a transistor made up of a single molecule and a dozen atoms. The new transistor offers much greater precision and reproducibility compared to previous atomic-scale transistors - factors which are obviously important to such a technology going forward.

The research team used a highly stable scanning tunneling microscope (STM) to create a transistor consisting of a single organic molecule and positively charged metal atoms. The phthalocyanine molecule is pictured below, surrounded by twelve indium atoms on an indium arsenide surface.

Electrical gates are assembled from the +1 charged atoms and, with a bias voltage applied, single electrons can hop over and change the charge state of the molecule. As mentioned in the intro, the newly discovered method of fabricating atomic-scale transistors is the first to allow precise control of its on/off state. These bottom-up constructed transistors are said to be reproducible and reliable, despite their tiny size.

The researchers observed that with these new phthalocyanine and indium transistors, "the molecule adopts different rotational orientations, depending on its charge state". Furthermore the coupling between charge and orientation has a 'dramatic effect' on the electron flow across the molecule.

The above research and discoveries could be important in the advancement of miniaturised electronics into the single figure nanometre realms. Further research and exploration is needed to see if these atomic-scale transistors can integrate with existing semiconductor technologies.



HEXUS Forums :: 10 Comments

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I saw the thumbnail and thought Wow. They've done it… They've collected all the Dragon Balls.

Whats the future application ideas for this technology though. Surely a transistor that tiny won't be all that practical?
Chadders87
I saw the thumbnail and thought Wow. They've done it… They've collected all the Dragon Balls.

Whats the future application ideas for this technology though. Surely a transistor that tiny won't be all that practical?

Shrinking.

The silicon age is nearing it's end…..everyone and their undergrad is trying to find new processes.
So how is this different than the single atom transistor from 2012? ( http://www.nature.com/nnano/journal/v7/n4/full/nnano.2012.21.html )
Reading articles like this just serves to remind me how little I understand of how computers really work… :help:

Still, yay science!
CK_1985
Reading articles like this just serves to remind me how little I understand of how computers really work… :help:

Still, yay science!

I guess at this level it really has more to do with physics than anything else.

But yes, it's amazing to watch all this progress being made.