The objectives of the project are to fabricate, characterize and test a first elementary single molecule electronic device (a molecular rectifier) by :
- enhancing and exploiting newly developed technologies for device fabrication at a molecular level, that are amenable to use in mass production;
- exploiting enhanced fabrication technologies for nanoelectrodes and interfacing to the conventional microscopic integrated circuitry;
- planning, synthesizing and testing organic molecules suitable for use as molecular semiconductors.
Molecules of proven rectifying properties, specifically synthesized and tested, will be laser vaporized and ionized in vacuo in a nanometer sized spatially controlled electric field, and driven by the field in such way as to bridge the nanometer gap between two suitably fabricated electrodes. The current-voltage characteristics of the electrode-molecule-electrode system will then be measured in order to check its rectifying behaviour.
The possible advantages of electronic devices based on single molecule components rather than on ultra-integrated solid state components basically consist in extended integrability to the subnanometer scale and in the reduction of power dissipation to negligible levels. If such devices were available, they would overcome the widely recognized technological bottleneck that will be reached within approximately ten years, when the size of 100 nm per component will be approached, giving rise to coupling effects, tunnelling currents, power dissipation problems, doping drifts. Also, due to the tremendously enhanced integration, and due to the low power needs, an entirely new kind of electronics would develop, based on high parallelism and distributed processing.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
MK45 4DT Cranfield
EX4 4QJ Exeter