Sci-Tech

Circuits could be shrunk to the size of a sand grain

Scientists are edging towards ‘single—molecule electronics’, which would shrink circuits in computers, smart phones, audio players and other devices to the size of a sand grain.

Their breakthrough is a method for creating and attaching the tiny wires that will connect molecular components.

Yuji Okawa from the National Institute for Materials Science in Japan and colleagues write: “The key to single—molecule electronics is connecting functional molecules to each other using conductive nanowires.”

“This involves two issues: how to create...nanowires at designated positions, and how to ensure chemical bonding between the nanowires and functional molecules,” reports the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

That challenge has stymied many researchers, who have struggled to produce wires small enough to use in molecular circuits, according to a National Institute statement.

Scientists now demonstrate a method that uses the tip of a scanning, tunnelling 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 colleagues dub “chemical soldering”.

The wiring method can be used to connect molecular switches, memory bits, and transistors. The scientists say their technique “will enable us to develop cheaper, higher—performance, and more ecological alternatives to conventional silicon—based devices”.

A letter from the Editor


Dear reader,

We have been keeping you up-to-date with information on the developments in India and the world that have a bearing on our health and wellbeing, our lives and livelihoods, during these difficult times. To enable wide dissemination of news that is in public interest, we have increased the number of articles that can be read free, and extended free trial periods. However, we have a request for those who can afford to subscribe: please do. As we fight disinformation and misinformation, and keep apace with the happenings, we need to commit greater resources to news gathering operations. We promise to deliver quality journalism that stays away from vested interest and political propaganda.

Support Quality Journalism
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | May 29, 2020 6:51:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/circuits-could-be-shrunk-to-the-size-of-a-sand-grain/article2281766.ece

Next Story