Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists help develop first single molecule transistor

07.06.2005


A scientist at the University of Liverpool has helped to create the world’s smallest transistor - by proving that a single molecule can power electric circuits



A scientist at the University of Liverpool has helped to create the world’s smallest transistor - by proving that a single molecule can power electric circuits.

Dr Werner Hofer, from the University’s Surface Science Research Centre, is one of an international team of scientists who have created a prototype that demonstrates a single charged atom on a silicon surface can regulate the conductivity of a nearby molecule. Computers and other technology based on this concept would require much less energy to power, would produce much less heat, and run much faster.


Currently, most electronic devices are based on silicon. There is, however, a limit to how many transistors can be packed into a given volume of silicon as the currents in these transistors are high and can overheat. By miniaturizing a transistor, the time during which an electron can pass through it is reduced and therefore the device can be operated with much higher frequencies and take up much less space.

Dr Hofer, a theorist, who worked in collaboration with colleagues from the National Institute for Nanotechnology of the National Research Council in Canada and the University of Alberta, provided the theoretical background in an experiment to examine the potential for electrical transistors on a much smaller, molecular scale. Their findings have been published in the journal, Nature.

Molecules are extremely small, on the scale of a nanometre (one billionth of a metre). The team tested the transistor potential of a molecule by using the electrostatic field emanating from a single atom to regulate the conductivity of a molecule, allowing an electric current to flow through the molecule. These effects were easily observed at room temperature, in contrast to previous molecular experiments that had to be conducted at temperatures close to absolute zero, and with much smaller current amplification. Dr Hofer explains: "Our experiments demonstrate that we can control the current through a single molecule by charging a single atom on a silicon surface, while all surrounding atoms remain neutral.

"Our research brings us a step nearer to using molecular electronics which would not only prove more efficient and cheaper than current devices, but would also have the potential to power green technology because of the biodegradable nature of the device."

He added: "Our prototype is a scientific breakthrough in molecular electronics. We have successfully shown the potential for devices of unheard-of smallness and unheard-of efficiency. This is the first time anyone has shown that a molecule is in fact a transistor."

Joanna Robotham | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.liv.ac.uk

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht System draws power from daily temperature swings
16.02.2018 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology

nachricht Researchers at Kiel University develop extremely sensitive sensor system for magnetic fields
15.02.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

Im Focus: Autonomous 3D scanner supports individual manufacturing processes

Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).

Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fingerprints of quantum entanglement

16.02.2018 | Information Technology

'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers

16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Hubble sees Neptune's mysterious shrinking storm

16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>