The inside dope: new technique may speed the development of molecular electronics

Jul 26, 2007

Weizmann Institute scientists have developed a new technique that could lead to the development of inexpensive, biodegradable and versatile electronic components, which are made of single layers of organic (carbon-based) molecules.

Often, things can be improved by a little 'contamination.' Steel, for example is iron with a bit of carbon mixed in.

To produce materials for modern electronics, small amounts of impurities are introduced into silicon – a process called doping. It is these impurities that enable electricity to flow through the semiconductor and allow designers to control the electronic properties of the material.

Scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science, together with colleagues from the US, recently succeeded in being the first to implement doping in the field of molecular electronics – the development of electronic components made of single layers of organic (carbon-based) molecules.

Such components might be inexpensive, biodegradable, versatile and easy to manipulate. The main problem with molecular electronics, however, is that the organic materials must first be made sufficiently pure and then, ways must be found to successfully dope these somewhat delicate systems.

This is what Prof. David Cahen and postdoctoral fellow Dr. Oliver Seitz of the Weizmann Institute’s Material and Interfaces Department, together with Drs. Ayelet Vilan and Hagai Cohen from the Chemical Research Support Unit and Prof. Antoine Kahn from Princeton University did. They showed that such 'contamination' is indeed possible, after they succeeded in purifying the molecular layer to such an extent that the remaining impurities did not affect the system’s electrical behavior.

The scientists doped the 'clean' monolayers by irradiating the surface with UV light or weak electron beams, changing chemical bonds between the carbon atoms that make up the molecular layer. These bonds ultimately influenced electronic transport through the molecules.

This achievement was recently described in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS). The researchers foresee that this method may enable scientists and electronics engineers to substantially broaden the use of these organic monolayers in the field of nanoelectronics. Dr. Seitz: 'If I am permitted to dream a little, it could be that this method will allow us to create types of electronics that are different, and maybe even more environmentally friendly, than the standard ones that are available today.'

Source: Weizmann Institute of Science

Explore further: The seashell-inspired material inspiring a new wave of safety gear in sport

Related Stories

CLAIRE brings electron microscopy to soft materials

May 14, 2015

Soft matter encompasses a broad swath of materials, including liquids, polymers, gels, foam and - most importantly - biomolecules. At the heart of soft materials, governing their overall properties and capabilities, ...

Exposing breast cancer using nanoscale polymers

May 13, 2015

Photoacoustic imaging is a ground-breaking technique for spotting tumors inside living cells with the help of light-absorbing compounds known as contrast agents. A*STAR researchers have now discovered a way ...

'Supercool' material glows when you write on it

May 13, 2015

A new material developed at the University of Michigan stays liquid more than 200 degrees Fahrenheit below its expected freezing point, but a light touch can cause it to form yellow crystals that glow under ...

Students participate in huge research study on tiny viruses

May 04, 2015

A new study appearing this week in the scientific journal eLIFE about the rapid evolution of small viruses that infect bacteria includes 59 University of Colorado Boulder co-authors, all of whom conducted research for th ...

Human ancestors had tentacles

Apr 23, 2015

The famous Vitruvian Man drawn by Leonardo da Vinci pictures the canon of human proportions. However, humans didn't become bilaterally symmetric suddenly. There are two main points of view on the last common ...

Recommended for you

User comments : 0

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.