Monday, July 16, 2018

Electrical contact to molecules in semiconductor structures established for the first time by University of Basel

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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.

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.

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