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Honolulu, HI, United States, 2006/08/07 - A potential solution to overcoming the fundamental scaling limits of silicon-based electronic circuitry is the use of a single molecular layer that self-organizes between two electrodes: so-called molecular electronics..
Nature itself is highly efficient in using self-organized structures for electronic transport (photosynthesis in plants, nerve cells, etc.), and now similar self-organization of organic molecules is used to make electronic devices. Electric transport through single molecules has been studied extensively by both academic and industrial research groups. It has been demonstrated that the size of a diode, an element used in electronic circuitry, can be reduced reproducibly below 1.5 nm. Transport data, however, typically differ by many orders of magnitude and the fabrication hurdle is reliability and yield. Researchers in The Netherlands now have demonstrated a technology to manufacture reproducible molecular diodes with high yields (>95 %) with unprecedented lateral dimensions of 100 µm.
For technological applications, molecular tunnel junctions must be reliable, stable and reproducible. Self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) may offer a promising route to the fabrication of reliable devices, and charge transport through SAMs of alkanethiols within nanopores is well understood, with non-resonant tunneling dominating the transport mechanism. Unfortunately, electrical shorts in SAMs are often formed upon vapor deposition of the top electrode, which limits the diameter of the nanopore diodes to about 45 nm.
Dr. Bert de Boer, Assistant Professor of Molecular Electronics Group at the Materials Science Centre at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, explained his center's current research to Nanowerk: "We have demonstrated the fabrication of molecular metal-insulator-metal (MIM) junctions with unprecedented device dimensions and obtain reproducible results with a high yield of working devices (almost unity). This low-cost technology for the facile and highly reproducible fabrication of large-area molecular MIM diodes is the first technique that allows academic groups to investigate charge transport through molecules with conventional processing techniques and can be used to realize crossbar arrays."
Read the full article on the Nanowerk website.
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By Michael Berger, Copyright 2006 Nanowerk LLC.