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Science Technology

Scientists Create First Functional Molecular Transistor 57

Posted by Soulskill
from the ever-smaller dept.
Dananajaya Ramanayake sends along this excerpt from Wired: "Nearly 62 years after researchers at Bell Labs demonstrated the first functional transistor, scientists say they have made another major breakthrough. Researchers showed the first functional transistor made from a single molecule. The transistor, which has a benzene molecule attached to gold contacts, could behave just like a silicon transistor. The molecule's different energy states can be manipulated by varying the voltage applied to it through the contacts. And by manipulating the energy states, researchers were able to control the current passing through it."
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Scientists Create First Functional Molecular Transistor

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  • Re:Feature Size (Score:3, Informative)

    by TheKidWho (705796) on Saturday December 26, 2009 @11:30AM (#30556378)

    .3nm would be about 13 generations from now if they keep scaling down transistors at 2^.5, which would be at least 20+ years from now in everyday usage.

  • From TFA: (Score:3, Informative)

    by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Saturday December 26, 2009 @11:44AM (#30556480) Homepage
    "The transistor, which has a benzene molecule attached to gold contacts, could behave just like a silicon transistor." It isn't clear how large the transistor as a whole is. A benzene molecule is pretty small with only 12 atoms. That presumably isn't the entire transistor. Whether they mean benzene attached to something else isn't clear from the article. However, given that prior small transistors are on the order of 10s of atoms thick at minimum, this seems like a major improvement. It looks like Moore's law will live for a bit longer yet.
  • by Bigjeff5 (1143585) on Saturday December 26, 2009 @12:15PM (#30556696)

    1) Current manufacturing process are struggling to get transistors any smaller than millions of molecules each, and Benzine, the molecule specifically used here, is not very big.

    2) Any manufactured product using this discovery is yet to be invented. Such a product is still a decade or two away. In other words, nothing other than the existance of a molecular transister is a reality, and everything else is a possibility. Duh. "Interesting Possibilities" drive science, it's mostly what these guys look for. They leave actually producing things with their discoveries to engineers.

  • Not the first! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 26, 2009 @12:30PM (#30556780)

    Seems remarkably similar to what other researchers have already done:

    03 Dec 2009
    "Researchers from Helsinki University of Technology (Finland), University of New South Wales (Australia), and University of Melbourne (Australia) have succeeded in building a working transistor, whose active region composes only of a single phosphorus atom in silicon. The results have just been published in Nano Letters."

    http://www.tkk.fi/en/current_affairs/news/view/yhden_atomin_transistori_loydetty/

  • by Tesla Tank (755530) on Saturday December 26, 2009 @09:11PM (#30560134)

    1) Current manufacturing process are struggling to get transistors any smaller than millions of molecules each, and Benzine, the molecule specifically used here, is not very big.

    The current state of the art manufacturing process is at 32nm, which is much less than millions of molecules each. 32nm is 320 angstrom, so we're at roughly 300 molecules size.

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