Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Reliable molecular toggle switch developed

30.03.2017

New dimension of miniaturized electronic components -- switch can be operated as often as desired -- future circuits may be a hundred times smaller

Nanotechnology constantly allows for new records in miniaturization. Reduction of the dimension of electronic components, however, has physical limits that will be reached soon. Novel materials and components are required. This is where molecular electronics comes in. Scientists of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have now succeeded in developing a molecular toggle switch that does not only remain in the position selected, but can also be flipped as often as desired. This is reported in Nature Communications.


The molecular contact can be switched on and off mechanically and electrostatically.

(Photo: KIT)

"By replacing conventional silicon-based components, e.g. a switch, by individual molecules, future electronic circuits might be integrated on a space smaller by a factor of 100," Lukas Gerhard of KIT's Institute of Nanotechnology says.

The basic structure of the electromechanical switch consists of a few carbon atoms. Three sulfur atoms form the feet that are fixed to a smooth gold surface. The toggle lever ends in a nitrile group with a nitrogen atom. It is flipped when voltage is applied. The resulting electric field exerts a force on the charge of the nitrogen atom. In this way, contact to a second electrode (here, the gold tip of a scanning tunneling microscope) is established.

The complete switch measures not more than a nanometer. For comparison: The smallest structures used in semiconductor technology are 10 nm in dimension. "Molecular electronics, hence, would be big progress," Gerhard says.

It is not only the size of the switch that is remarkable, but the fact that it works reliably and foreseeably. This means that its operation always leads to a switching state. The contact is either open or closed. So far, implementation of this principle has often failed due to insufficient controllability of electric contacting of individual molecules. For the first time, KIT researchers have now succeeded in opening and closing such a contact between a molecule and a gold tip electrically and mechanically as often as desired, without plastic deformation being caused.

In the opinion of Gerhard, progress in synthetic chemistry has resulted in the possibility of making available a large variety of billions of molecular building blocks of identical atomic design. "Their interconnection, however, requires them to be touched without being damaged." Such a gentle method has now be found and Gerhard considers this to be the decisive novelty.

###

This publication is the result of close cooperation between experimental physicists and chemists of KIT's Institute of Nanotechnology and of the University of Basel and theoretical physicists of the University of Konstanz.

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) pools its three core tasks of research, higher education, and innovation in a mission. With about 9,300 employees and 25,000 students, KIT is one of the big institutions of research and higher education in natural sciences and engineering in Europe.

KIT - The Research University in the Helmholtz Association

Media Contact

Monika Landgraf
presse@kit.edu
49-721-608-47414

 @KITKarlsruhe

http://www.kit.edu/index.php

Monika Landgraf | EurekAlert!

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Watching atoms move in hybrid perovskite crystals reveals clues to improving solar cells
22.11.2017 | University of California - San Diego

nachricht Fine felted nanotubes: CAU research team develops new composite material made of carbon nanotubes
22.11.2017 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Underwater acoustic localization of marine mammals and vehicles

23.11.2017 | Information Technology

Enhancing the quantum sensing capabilities of diamond

23.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Meadows beat out shrubs when it comes to storing carbon

23.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>