Scientists develop atom-scale switch

Jan 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: Engineers discover new method to determine surface properties at the nanoscale

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Ultra-low consumption for the future of electronics

Sep 25, 2014

The European project E2SWITCH is aiming to develop new electronic systems with ultra-low energy consumption. The nine partners, universities, research institutes and companies, are committed to making the ...

Physicists build first 500 GHz photon switch

Sep 10, 2014

The work took nearly four years to complete and it opens a fundamentally new direction in photonics – with far-reaching potential consequences for the control of photons in optical fiber channels.

Researchers prove stability of wonder material silicene

Aug 12, 2014

An international team of researchers has taken a significant step towards understanding the fundamental properties of the two-dimensional material silicene by showing that it can remain stable in the presence ...

Boosting microelectronics with a little liquid logic

Aug 08, 2014

Certain titanium-based metal oxides can form a crystal structure known as perovskite that results in a subtle internal imbalance of electric charges. This imbalance gives the material the ability to flip ...

Recommended for you

New 2-D quantum materials for nanoelectronics

22 hours ago

Researchers at MIT say they have carried out a theoretical analysis showing that a family of two-dimensional materials exhibits exotic quantum properties that may enable a new type of nanoscale electronics.

Thin film produces new chemistry in 'nanoreactor'

Nov 19, 2014

Physicists of the University of Groningen and the FOM Foundation, led by professor Beatriz Noheda, have discovered a new manganese compound that is produced by tension in the crystal structure of terbium manganese oxide. ...

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.