In chemistry, a chromophore is any molecule or part of a molecule responsible for its color. Light hitting a chromophore excites an electron, which then emits light of a particular color.
"Here we have created chains of chromophores that are primed to move charge," said Michael J. Therien, a professor in Penn's Department of Chemistry and lead researcher in the project. "When a charge is introduced to an array of chromophores linked closely together, it enables electrons to quickly hop from one chromophore to the next."
A charge can travel down a chain of chromophores at a rate of about 10 million times a second, which means that these chromophore arrays can do anything that organic semiconductors currently do, only much faster.
Penn researchers Kimihiro Susumu and Paul Frail built chromophore circuits that could, for example, serve as the functional elements in disposable plastic electronics, radio frequency identification tags, electronic drivers for active-matrix liquid crystal displays and organic light-emitting diodes as well as for lightweight solar cells.
Therien and his colleagues have found that the key to creating materials that allow electrons to move so quickly and freely is to build structures that feature long chromophores and short linkers between these units.
"This arrangement of linked chromophores leads to small structural changes when holes (positive charges) and electrons (negative charges) are introduced into these structures and these physical changes help propagate the charge," said Paul Angiolillo of St. Josephs University, co-author of the study. "The introduction of these structural changes is actually a new idea in the design of conducting and semi-conducting organic materials."
The semiconductor industry is well aware of potential barriers to creating faster and faster electronics. In terms of circuitry, size directly relates to speed. Currently, circuits based on semiconductors have shrunk to dimensions just below 100 nanometers, or one hundred billionths of a meter, across. Chromophores may represent the first relatively easy-to-use materials that function on the nanoscale.
"In order to move significantly past the 100-nano barrier in electronics, we need to develop nano structures that let electrons move, as they do through wires and semiconductors," Therien said. "Our work also shows for the first time that molecular conductive elements can be produced on a 10-nanometer length scale, providing an important functional element for nanoscale circuitry."
This research was supported by the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation.
Greg Lester | EurekAlert!
Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells
11.12.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires
07.12.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht - Zentrum für Material- und Küstenforschung
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications
Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...
Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.
The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Information Technology
11.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
11.12.2017 | Event News