The INNATE project focuses on noble metal nanocrystals in the quantum confinement size range as active elements in molecular electronic circuits. Supported by a successful proof-of-concept experiment, multistate switch and transistor function for these systems will be demonstrated, unparalleled in conventional electronics. This novel electronic function will be integrated with that of tailored redox molecules both in a vertical Scanning Probe Microscopy configuration and in a nanogap electrode set-up to form nanoelectronic circuits, thus bridging top-down and bottom-up approaches. Our strategy focuses on electrolyte gating at electrified solid/liquid interfaces, which can address physical gates down to 1 nm by achieving strong electronic coupling, and allows the target “device” to function under ambient conditions. In addition to its ambitious technical goals, the INNATE project will substantially contribute to prospects of professional maturity and independence of the applicant by adding crucial scientific competencies in the highly interdisciplinary area of nanoscale electrochemistry and molecular electronics, thus developing his research niche of organic–inorganic hybrid nanostructures towards a high-level molecular understanding of structure–functionality–reactivity relations. Research training objectives focus on advanced scanning probe and nanogap electrode techniques, together with complementary training in research management, high-level dissemination and networking activities, including links to industry. Fully integrated in the European Research Area, the project will significantly enhance visibility and attractiveness of European science and technology.
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