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New Technique To Develop Single-Molecule Diode 35

William Robinson writes: Under the direction of Latha Venkataraman, associate professor of applied physics at Columbia Engineering, researchers have designed a new technique to create a single-molecule diode, that has rectification ratio as high as 250, and 'ON' current as high as 0.1 microamps. The idea of creating a single-molecule diode was suggested by Arieh Aviram and Mark Ratner who theorized in 1974, which has been the 'holy grail' of molecular electronics ever since its inception to achieve further miniaturization, because single molecule represent the limit of miniaturization.
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New Technique To Develop Single-Molecule Diode

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  • by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 ) on Thursday May 28, 2015 @10:00AM (#49790419)

    I heard about an inventor that made a machine that could shrink objects. Nearly lost his kids in his backyard, too.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It would be nice to know if these things will motor fast enough to directly rectify visible-light frequencies for use in nano-antenna based solar cells

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Huh? A silicon wafer is essentially a perfect crystal and therefore a single molecule. Without saying how large their molecule is this is meaningless. (I suppose I could try reading the article. Nah.) I'd say a single atom is the ultimate limit. (Without resorting to impossible physics.)

    • No, the term "molecule" is not used for atoms bound in crystals (either ionic or covalent), metals or glasses.

  • Is one molecule truly the limit? Certainly it is as long as we view the various components of electronics as discrete objects: you can split a molecule, but this results in smaller molecules (of different types, but molecules all the same), so miniaturization becomes a race to see who can make the smallest molecules act as the different kinds of components.

    But the integrated circuit allowed for many components to be combined into a single discrete object. Does physics allow for the possibility of doing this

    • Obviously, our technology is not at the point where such a thing could be created. It may very well require molecules to be assembled atom-by-atom.

      That doesn't actually preclude our doing it, although we won't be able to do it with a robot arm any time soon. (Would love to be wrong.) It might be possible to do it with biotech, though.

    • You could go smaller. P-orbitals are largely independant: You might be able to get one atom to be part of three diodes at once, with the individual orbitals becoming components. It'd be silly-unstable though, you'd have to keep the thing on helium cooling and try not to whisper too loudly nearby.

    • The ideal first target is probably memory. That is a circuit that is made from the same few elements banged out billions of times. If you can make a crystal out of memory elements, then you would be able to have enormous memory densities. You could have a mole of bits for a few hundred grams of material.

      The barriers are enormous. We will have to re-invent every part of a circuit at smaller scales The main barrier is probably getting the money to do the research, because it will take many decades to do th

  • by freeze128 ( 544774 ) on Thursday May 28, 2015 @10:53AM (#49790877)
    I'm going to need a smaller soldering iron.
  • The keyboard must be tiny!
  • World's largest molecule: 250 million atoms / 10 nanometers: []

  • Nantennas can't compete with photovoltaic cells because current diodes can't operate at terahertz frequencies. []

    Hope this tiny diode can finally jumpstart the nantenna industry, and kick off an efficiency race with the PV industry. That would be fun times!

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