Michigan Tech Team Models Molecular Transistor

Aug 13, 2009 By Marcia Goodrich
Ravi Pandey at the blackboard

(PhysOrg.com) -- Electronic gadgetry gets tinier and more powerful all the time, but at some point, the transistors and myriad other component parts will get so little they won't work. That's because when things get really small, the regular rules of Newtonian physics quit and the weird rules of quantum mechanics kick in. When that happens, as physics professor and chair Ravindra Pandey puts it, "everything goes haywire."

Theorists in the field of molecular electronics hope to get around the problem by designing components out of a single molecule. Pandey's group has done just that—theoretically—by modeling a single-molecule on a computer.

"Transistor" has been an oft-used but rarely understood household word since cheap Japanese radios flooded the US market back in the 1960s. Field-effect transistors form the basis of all , which in turn are the foundation of all modern electronics.

A simple switch either diverts current or shuts it off. Transistors can also amplify the current by applying voltage to it (that's how amplifiers work).

A diagram of Pandey's three-terminal single-molecule transistor looks like an elaborate necklace and pendant, made up of six-sided rings of bedecked with hydrogen and nitrogen atoms. His group demonstrated that the electrical current running from the source to the drain (through the necklace) rises dramatically when voltage applied at the gate (through the pendant) reaches a certain level.

This happens when electrons in the current suddenly move from one orbital path around their atoms to another. Or, as Pandey says, "Molecular orbital energies appear to contribute to the enhancement of the source-drain current."

Their virtual molecule may soon exist outside a computer. "Several experimental groups are working to make real our theoretical results," says Pandey.

An article on the molecular transistor, "Electronic Conduction in a Model Three-Terminal Molecular Transistor," was published in 2008 in the journal Nanotechnology, volume 19. Coauthors are physics graduate student Haying Hay and Sashi Karna of the Army Research Lab.

Provided by Michigan Technological University (news : web)

Explore further: A nanosized hydrogen generator

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Theorist helps develop first single molecule transistor

Jun 07, 2005

A scientist at the University of Liverpool has helped to create the world's smallest transistor - by proving that a single molecule can power electric circuits Dr Werner Hofer, from the University's Surface Science Research ...

Researchers works on single molecular diode

Mar 07, 2006

Researchers from the University of South Florida, the University of Chicago and the Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow) have recently developed the principles of operation and completed an experimental testing of a single ...

Scientists model molecular switch

Jun 16, 2008

Michigan Technological University physicist Ranjit Pati and his team have developed a model to explain the mechanism behind computing's elusive Holy Grail, the single molecular switch.

Researchers shine light on atomic transistor

Nov 22, 2006

Researchers from TU Delft and the FOM Foundation (Netherlands) have successfully measured transport through a single atom in a transistor. This research offers new insights into the behaviour of so-called dopant ...

Recommended for you

A nanosized hydrogen generator

Sep 20, 2014

(Phys.org) —Researchers at the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have created a small scale "hydrogen generator" that uses light and a two-dimensional graphene platform to boost ...

For electronics beyond silicon, a new contender emerges

Sep 16, 2014

Silicon has few serious competitors as the material of choice in the electronics industry. Yet transistors, the switchable valves that control the flow of electrons in a circuit, cannot simply keep shrinking ...

Making quantum dots glow brighter

Sep 16, 2014

Researchers from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and the University of Oklahoma have found a new way to control the properties of quantum dots, those tiny chunks of semiconductor material that glow ...

The future face of molecular electronics

Sep 16, 2014

The emerging field of molecular electronics could take our definition of portable to the next level, enabling the construction of tiny circuits from molecular components. In these highly efficient devices, ...

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

sender
not rated yet Aug 13, 2009
"'The spontaneous polarization (PS) of a ferroelectric liquid crystal is modulated reversibly by photocyclization of the dopant 1,2-bis[5%u2018-(4%u2018 %u2018-heptyloxyphenyl)-2%u2018-methylthien-3%u2018-yl]perfluorocyclopentene.' 'the resulting photoswitch is fatigue resistant and bistable.'"

http://pubs.acs.o...a025954z
holoman
not rated yet Aug 14, 2009
Photon induced electric field poling of a 3 nm ferroelectric molecule stacked in 3D used as a non-volatile bi-stable back to back diode will be the future of optical FET nanoelectronics.
rincewind
not rated yet Aug 28, 2009
^ what he said... i think.