Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Molecular Memories, Once Doubted, Prove Durable and Practical

03.12.2003


In the ongoing quest to create computing devices that are both incredibly small and incredibly powerful, scientists – envisioning a future beyond the limits of traditional semiconductors – have been working to use molecules for information storage and processing.



Until now, researchers were skeptical that such molecular devices could survive the rigors of real-world manufacturing and use, which involve high temperatures and up to one trillion operational cycles. But scientists at the University of California, Riverside and North Carolina State University have demonstrated that molecular memories are indeed both durable and practical – a finding that could spur development of the technology.

The scientists’ results, in a paper titled “Molecular Memories that Survive Silicon Device Processing and Real-World Operation,” are described in the Nov. 28 issue of the journal Science.


Dr. Jonathan S. Lindsey, Glaxo Distinguished University Professor of Chemistry at NC State and one of the paper’s authors, said the team was faced with a very basic problem. “If molecular materials can’t compete against semiconductor materials under the rigorous conditions of the real world,” he said, “then trying to implement them in electronic devices would be pointless. Because our goal is to develop molecule-based memory devices, we first had to test their durability and stability.”

Led by Dr. David F. Bocian, professor of chemistry at the University of California, Riverside, the team attached porphyrins – disk-shaped organic molecules similar to chlorophyll – with specific electronic properties to an electroactive surface, storing information in the form of the molecules’ positive charges.

After a series of tests, the scientists found that the resulting molecular memories were “extremely robust” and offered clear advantages over traditional semiconductor-based technology.

“The porphyrin-based information-storage elements exhibit charge-retention times that are long (minutes) compared with those of the semiconductor elements in dynamic random access devices (tens of milliseconds),” the university chemists report in their paper.

In addition, their testing showed that such molecule-based information-storage devices “meet the processing and operating challenges required for use in electronic devices.” In particular, they proved that “these molecules are stable under extremes of temperature (400°C) and large numbers of read-write cycles (1 trillion).”

That demonstrated stability, they conclude, “indicates that these molecular architectures can be readily adapted to current semiconductor fabrication technology and operated under the conditions required for a practical device.”

By establishing the practicality of molecular memories, says Lindsey, the findings should help eliminate doubts about the role of organic materials in electronic devices.

“There is a perception that organic molecules are fragile,” Lindsey said. “The critical question has been whether, given the high temperatures and other stresses of production and use, any molecule-based devices could meet functionality standards. I believe our research has laid this question to rest, and demonstrated that appropriately chosen molecules can readily function in practical devices.”

That knowledge, he said, should speed development of molecule-based electronics, which promise smaller, faster and far more powerful computers and other applications.

The research was funded by ZettaCore Inc. and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Moletronics Program. Bocian and Lindsey are co-founders of ZettaCore and serve as consultants for the company.

Paul K. Mueller | NC State University
Further information:
http://www.ncsu.edu/news/press_releases/03_12/351.htm

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Bursting the clouds for better communication
18.10.2018 | Université de Genève

nachricht Research on light-matter interaction could improve electronic and optoelectronic devices
11.10.2018 | Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Goodbye, silicon? On the way to new electronic materials with metal-organic networks

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz (Germany) together with scientists from Dresden, Leipzig, Sofia (Bulgaria) and Madrid (Spain) have now developed and characterized a novel, metal-organic material which displays electrical properties mimicking those of highly crystalline silicon. The material which can easily be fabricated at room temperature could serve as a replacement for expensive conventional inorganic materials used in optoelectronics.

Silicon, a so called semiconductor, is currently widely employed for the development of components such as solar cells, LEDs or computer chips. High purity...

Im Focus: Storage & Transport of highly volatile Gases made safer & cheaper by the use of “Kinetic Trapping"

Augsburg chemists present a new technology for compressing, storing and transporting highly volatile gases in porous frameworks/New prospects for gas-powered vehicles

Storage of highly volatile gases has always been a major technological challenge, not least for use in the automotive sector, for, for example, methane or...

Im Focus: Disrupting crystalline order to restore superfluidity

When we put water in a freezer, water molecules crystallize and form ice. This change from one phase of matter to another is called a phase transition. While this transition, and countless others that occur in nature, typically takes place at the same fixed conditions, such as the freezing point, one can ask how it can be influenced in a controlled way.

We are all familiar with such control of the freezing transition, as it is an essential ingredient in the art of making a sorbet or a slushy. To make a cold...

Im Focus: Micro energy harvesters for the Internet of Things

Fraunhofer IWS Dresden scientists print electronic layers with polymer ink

Thin organic layers provide machines and equipment with new functions. They enable, for example, tiny energy recuperators. In future, these will be installed...

Im Focus: Dynamik einzelner Proteine

Neue Messmethode erlaubt es Forschenden, die Bewegung von Molekülen lange und genau zu verfolgen

Das Zusammenspiel aus Struktur und Dynamik bestimmt die Funktion von Proteinen, den molekularen Werkzeugen der Zelle. Durch Fortschritte in der...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Conference to pave the way for new therapies

17.10.2018 | Event News

Berlin5GWeek: Private industrial networks and temporary 5G connectivity islands

16.10.2018 | Event News

5th International Conference on Cellular Materials (CellMAT), Scientific Programme online

02.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nanocages in the lab and in the computer: how DNA-based dendrimers transport nanoparticles

19.10.2018 | Life Sciences

Thin films from Braunschweig on the way to Mercury

19.10.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

App-App-Hooray! - Innovative Kits for AR Applications

19.10.2018 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>