Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Electrical contact to molecules in semiconductor structures established for the first time

12.07.2018

Electrical circuits are constantly being scaled down and extended with specific functions. A new method now allows electrical contact to be established with simple molecules on a conventional silicon chip. The technique promises to bring advances in sensor technology and medicine, as reported in the journal Nature by chemists from the University of Basel and researchers from IBM Research – Zurich in Rüschlikon.

To further develop semiconductor technology, the field of molecular electronics is seeking to manufacture circuit components from individual molecules instead of silicon. Because of their unique electronic properties, molecules are suited to applications that cannot be implemented using conventional silicon technology. However, this requires reliable and inexpensive methods for creating electrical contacts at the two ends of a molecule.


Tiny small pores were filled with molecules and contacted from below via a platinum and from above via a gold nanoparticle electrode.

(Bild: IBM Research – Zurich)

The ability to produce thousands of elements

Researchers from the University of Basel and IBM Research – Zurich have now developed a technique that allows electrical contact to individual molecules to be established. Thousands of stable metal-molecule-metal components can be produced simultaneously by depositing a film of nanoparticles onto the molecules, without compromising the properties of the molecules. This approach was demonstrated using alkane-dithiol compounds, which are made up of carbon, hydrogen, and sulfur.

The researchers used a type of sandwich construction in which an interlayer of molecules is brought into contact with metallic electrodes from above and below. The lower electrode consists of a layer of platinum, which is coated with a layer of non-conducting material. Tiny pores are then etched into this layer to produce arbitrary patterns of compartments of different sizes, inside which there is an electrical contact with the platinum electrode.

Self-assembled monolayers

The researchers then took advantage of the ability of certain molecules to self-assemble . Onto the pattern of pores, they applied a solution containing alkane-dithiol molecules, which self-assemble into the pores, forminga densely packed monolayer film. Within this film, the individual molecules exhibit a regular arrangement and an electrical connection with the lower platinum electrode. Electrical contact with the molecular layer is established via an upper electrode made of gold nanoparticles.

The new technique largely resolves the issues that previously hampered the creation of electrical contacts to molecules – such as high contact resistance or short circuits by filaments penetrating the film. Building blocks fabricated by this method can be operated under standard conditions and provide long-term stability. Moreover, the method can be applied to a variety of other molecular systems and opens up new avenues for integrating molecular compounds into solid-state devices. Its applications could include new types of instruments in the fields of sensor technology and medicine.

“Our approach will help speed up the development of chemically fabricated and controllable electronic and sensor components,” says Professor Marcel Mayor of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Basel. The project received significant funding from the National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) for Molecular Systems Engineering, in which the University of Basel and ETH Zurich are leading houses.

Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

Professor Marcel Mayor, University of Basel, Department of Chemistry, Tel. +41 61 207 10 06, Email: marcel.mayor@unibas.ch

Originalpublikation:

Gabriel Puebla-Hellmann, Koushik Venkatesan, Marcel Mayor, and Emanuel Lörtscher
Monolayer Junctions via Nanoparticles: A High-yield, Scalable Solution for Ambient-stable Molecular Devices
Nature (2018), doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0275-z

lic. phil. Christoph Dieffenbacher | Universität Basel
Further information:
http://www.unibas.ch

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New technique for in-cell distance determination
19.03.2019 | Universität Konstanz

nachricht Dalian Coherent Light Source reveals hydroxyl super rotors from water photochemistry
19.03.2019 | Chinese Academy of Sciences Headquarters

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Stellar cartography

The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first image of the surface magnetic field of another star. In a paper in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a Zeeman- Doppler-Image of the surface of the magnetically active star II Pegasi.

A special technique allows astronomers to resolve the surfaces of faraway stars. Those are otherwise only seen as point sources, even in the largest telescopes...

Im Focus: Heading towards a tsunami of light

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have proposed a way to create a completely new source of radiation. Ultra-intense light pulses consist of the motion of a single wave and can be described as a tsunami of light. The strong wave can be used to study interactions between matter and light in a unique way. Their research is now published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

"This source of radiation lets us look at reality through a new angle - it is like twisting a mirror and discovering something completely different," says...

Im Focus: Revealing the secret of the vacuum for the first time

New research group at the University of Jena combines theory and experiment to demonstrate for the first time certain physical processes in a quantum vacuum

For most people, a vacuum is an empty space. Quantum physics, on the other hand, assumes that even in this lowest-energy state, particles and antiparticles...

Im Focus: Sussex scientists one step closer to a clock that could replace GPS and Galileo

Physicists in the EPic Lab at University of Sussex make crucial development in global race to develop a portable atomic clock

Scientists in the Emergent Photonics Lab (EPic Lab) at the University of Sussex have made a breakthrough to a crucial element of an atomic clock - devices...

Im Focus: Sensing shakes

A new way to sense earthquakes could help improve early warning systems

Every year earthquakes worldwide claim hundreds or even thousands of lives. Forewarning allows people to head for safety and a matter of seconds could spell...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Modelica Conference with 330 visitors from 21 countries at OTH Regensburg

11.03.2019 | Event News

Selection Completed: 580 Young Scientists from 88 Countries at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

01.03.2019 | Event News

LightMAT 2019 – 3rd International Conference on Light Materials – Science and Technology

28.02.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Levitating objects with light

19.03.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

New technique for in-cell distance determination

19.03.2019 | Life Sciences

Stellar cartography

19.03.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>