Electrical Contact with Molecules to Foster Semiconductor Technology

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The electrical contact with simple molecules on silicon chip assure to  bring advances in sensor technology and medicine

Electrical circuits are extended with specific functions as it now allows electrical contact to be established with simple molecules on a conventional silicon chip.in order to foster sensor technology and medicine.

The field of molecular electronics is seeking to manufacture circuit components from individual molecules instead of silicon to enhance semiconductor technology. It is also said that this method is reliable and inexpensive to create electrical contacts at the two ends of a molecule.

Technology to make an electrical contact

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The researchers use a sandwich type of construction in which an interlayer of molecules is brought into contact with metallic electrodes from above and below. The lower electrode consists of a layer of platinum, which is coated with a layer of non-conducting material.

Tiny pores are then etched into this layer to produce arbitrary patterns of compartments of different sizes, inside which there is an electrical contact with the platinum electrode.

Can produce thousands of elements

Researchers from the University of Basel have developed the technique to establish an electrical contact to individual molecules. Using this, thousands of stable metal-molecule-metal components can be produced by depositing a film of nanoparticles onto the molecules, without compromising the properties of the molecules.

This approach was demonstrated using alkane-dithiol compounds, which are made up of carbon, hydrogen, and sulfur.

Self-assembled monolayers to provide stability

The researchers then took advantage of the ability of certain molecules to self-assemble. Onto the pattern of pores, they applied a solution containing alkane-dithiol molecules, which self-assemble into the pores, forming a densely packed monolayer film.

Within this film, the individual molecules exhibit a regular arrangement and an electrical connection with the lower platinum electrode. Electrical contact with the molecular layer is established via an upper electrode made of gold nanoparticles.

Building blocks fabricated by this method can be operated under standard conditions and provide long-term stability. Moreover, the method can be applied to a variety of other molecular systems and opens up new avenues for integrating molecular compounds into solid-state devices. Its applications could include new types of instruments in the fields of sensor technology and medicine.

 

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