Scientists have reported a breakthrough in their quest for ‘single-molecule electronics’, a mechanism through which common electronic circuits in computers, smartphones, audio players and other devices may shrink to the size of a grain of sand.
The researchers devised a method create and attach tiny wires to connect molecular components, according to a report a new study in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. According to a release, Yuji Okawa, along with his colleagues, found the “key to single-molecule electronics is connecting functional molecules to each other using conductive nanowires. This involves two issues: How to create conductive nanowires at designated positions, and how to ensure chemical bonding between the nanowires and functional molecules.” That challenge has stymied many researchers.
The scientists demonstrated a method that uses the tip of a scanning tunneling microscope to jump-start the formation of a molecule chain. The chain or ‘wire’ spontaneously chemically bonds with other molecular components in the circuit under construction, a process that Okawa and his colleagues dub “chemical soldering”.
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