Scientists develop atom-scale switch

January 18, 2007

U.S. Energy Department scientists performing basic research have discovered a carbon nanotube-based system that functions as an atom-scale switch.

The researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory say their approach is to perform first-principles calculations on positioning a molecule inside a carbon nanotube to affect the electronic current flowing across it.

The result is an electrical gate at the molecular level: In one position, the molecular gate is open, allowing current to pass, while in another position the gate is closed, blocking the current. In a silicon chip, the gate is a silicon oxide barrier within the structure of the chip.

In the ORNL model, the gate is a short molecule -- encapsulated inside the carbon nanotube that is about one nanometer in size, or three orders of magnitude smaller than a silicon chip.

The research is to appear in the Feb 2 issue of the journal Physical Review Letters.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Meet the high-performance single-molecule diode

Related Stories

Meet the high-performance single-molecule diode

July 29, 2015

A team of researchers from Berkeley Lab and Columbia University has passed a major milestone in molecular electronics with the creation of the world's highest-performance single-molecule diode. Working at Berkeley Lab's Molecular ...

Controlling interactions between distant qubits

July 23, 2015

A big part of the burgeoning science of quantum computation is reliably storing and processing information in the form of quantum bits, or qubits. One of the obstacles to this goal is the difficulty of preserving the fragile ...

Researchers produce industry's first 7nm node test chips

July 9, 2015

An alliance led by IBM Research today announced that it has produced the semiconductor industry's first 7nm (nanometer) node test chips with functioning transistors. The breakthrough, accomplished in partnership with GLOBALFOUNDRIES ...

Engineers find a simple yet clever way to boost chip speeds

June 17, 2015

A typical computer chip includes millions of transistors connected with an extensive network of copper wires. Although chip wires are unimaginably short and thin compared to household wires both have one thing in common: ...

A nano-transistor assesses your health via sweat

May 15, 2015

Made from state-of-the-art silicon transistors, an ultra-low power sensor enables real-time scanning of the contents of liquids such as perspiration. Compatible with advanced electronics, this technology boasts exceptional ...

Researchers exploring spintronics in graphene

May 6, 2015

Electronics is based on the manipulation of electrons and other charge carriers, but in addition to charge, electrons possess a property known as spin. When spin is manipulated with magnetic and electric fields, the result ...

Recommended for you

Fast times and hot spots in plasmonic nanostructures

August 4, 2015

The ability to control the time-resolved optical responses of hybrid plasmonic nanostructures was demonstrated by a team led by scientists in the Nanophotonics Group at the Center for Nanoscale Materials including collaborators ...

Study explores nanoscale structure of thin films

August 4, 2015

The world's newest and brightest synchrotron light source—the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II) at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory—has produced one of the first publications ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.