brian carroll <email@example.com>
Wed, 17 Oct 2001 22:40:36 -0600
[so many stories about innovations in technology, so it is hard
to gauge, when not an expert in any given field, how realistically
revolutionary a working-concept/prototype can be, always, it seems
to be, somewhere, sometime, out in the future when the new work
will arise. yet, this article which i am assuming to be one of
many examples of applied nanotechnology, describes about the
self-assembly of an electrode by atoms and molecules on a scale
of billionths of a meter. fascinating, yet confounding, it that
what is being done is so small it is invisible, the 'angels on
the head of a pin' concept, writ in carbon, not silicolonization]
Bell Labs claims breakthrough in molecular-scale transistor R&D
MURRAY HILL, N.J.--Scientists at Lucent Technologies Inc.'s Bell
Laboratories today announced the creation of organic transistors with
a single-molecule channel length. The development promises to usher
in a new class of high-speed, inexpensive carbon-based electronics,
according to Bell Labs.
With one molecule defining the physical dimension of a transistor's
channel, these organic devices are more than a factor of 10 smaller
than anything previously demonstrated with advanced lithography
techniques, according to Bell Labs researchers.
Many experts believe molecular-scale transistors could be an
alternative to conventional ICs when silicon technology runs into
physical limitations and no longer supports device shrinks. In a
molecular-scale transistor, a single molecule performs switching and
amplification of electrical signals.
Bell Labs said scientists Hendrik Schon, Zhenan Bao and Hong Meng
have succeeded in fabricating molecular-scale transistors that rival
conventional silicon transistors in performance. The team used a
class of organic, carbon-based semiconductor material, known as
"When we tested them, they behaved extremely well as both amplifiers
and switches," said Schon, an experimental physicist who was the lead
researcher. Using the tiny transistors--which are roughly a million
times smaller than a grain of sand--the research team built a simple
voltage inverter, said Bell Labs.
The working prototype inverter shows that molecular-scale transistors
could be used in the future to build more complex ICs, such as
memories or microprocessors, according to Bell Labs.
Molecular-scale transistors would theoretically enable semiconductor
manufacturers to increase the number of transistors on an IC by
thousands of times compared to today's leading-edge chips, predicted
the research lab. But the main challenge in building molecular-scale
transistors has been the fabrication of electrodes that are only a
few molecules, said Bell Labs.
To overcome this barrier, Bell Labs researchers devised a
"self-assembly" technique and design in which each electrode is
shared by many transistors. "We solved the contact problem by letting
one layer of organic molecules self-assemble on one electrode first,
and then placing the second electrode above it," said Bao, who is an
organic chemist. "For the self assembly, we simply make a solution of
the organic semiconductor, pour it on the base, and the molecules do
the work of finding the electrodes and attaching themselves."
Bell Labs said the chemical self-assembly technique is relatively
easy and inexpensive, but is key to reducing the transistor's channel
length. The channel length of the experimental transistors is between
one and two nanometers (billionths of a meter), an order of magnitude
smaller than any transistor channel created before, the laboratory
A report on the breakthrough appears in the Oct. 18 issue of Nature,
a scientific journal.
For more technology news, visit http://www.siliconstrategies.com
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brian thomas carroll the_electromagnetic_internetwork
electromagnetic researcher matter, energy, and in-formation
electromagnetism / infrastructure / civilization