Yahoo! News News Home - Yahoo! - My Yahoo! - News Alerts - Help

Reuters New Media
A Sneak Peek at
the Season's Best Books
Try Netflix for Free!
Home  Top Stories  Business  Tech  Politics  World  Local  Entertainment  Sports  Op/Ed   Science   Health  Full Coverage
Science - Reuters - updated 6:47 PM ET Oct 17
My Add to My Yahoo!
Reuters  |  |  AP  

Full Coverage
In-depth coverage about
Related News Stories
A big step for molecular electronics - MSNBC (Oct 17, 2001)
MIT physicist shares Nobel for work on matter - Boston Globe (Oct 10, 2001)
2 Americans, German Share Nobel - Washington Post (Oct 10, 2001)
Nanoparticles May Get Draft Notice as Mini Smart Bombs Against Terror - Small Times (Oct 8, 2001)
New Code Tracks Genes, Not Jeans - Wired News (Oct 5, 2001)
Related Web Sites
Overview of Nanotechnology - adapted by J. Storrs Hall from papers by Ralph C. Merkle and K. Eric Drexler. Also: a timeline of key events in nanotechnology, from Technanogy.
What is Nanotechnology? - introduction to the nanometer-level technology. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter, or 3-4 atoms, wide. From Nanotechnology Magazine.
U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative - committed to long-term nano science and engineering research; synthesis, processing, and application of nano materials; and the exploration of nanodevice concepts.
UK Institute of Nanotechnology - fosters, develops, and promotes all aspects of science and technology.
Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology - complete text of the book by K. Eric Drexler.
Magazine Articles
Little Big Science - Scientific American (Aug 23, 2001)
Machine-Phase Nanotechnology - Scientific American (Aug 23, 2001)
The Once and Future Nanomachine - Scientific American (Aug 23, 2001)
Micro-sculpture Continues Push Into Nano-technology - Reuters Video (Aug 20, 2001)
Thinking Small - Science and Technology News Network (May 10, 2001)
DNA tweezers - MSNBC (Aug 10, 2000)
News Sources
Yahoo! News Search
NanoTechnology Magazine
New Scientist
Small Times
News Index: National Nanotechnology Initiative
Yahoo! Categories
Nanotechnology Book Titles
Nanotechnology Companies

Wednesday October 17 4:01 PM ET

Electric Circuit Made From Organic Molecules

Video Payne's Picks: Does the Street Have a Thick Enough Skin for Bioterrorism - (Yahoo! Finance Vision)
Audio*,rna-56-f.,rna-120-f.,rna-300-f. - (ON24)
Audio Goldman Sachs sees further IT spending slowdown, cuts IBM - (ON24)

By Daniel Sorid

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Scientists from Bell Labs have built transistors, or electric switches, a million times smaller than a grain of sand, in an advance that could play a key role in developing minuscule computer chips that use tiny amounts of power.

Transistors, in a much larger form, are crammed together to make up the brains of computers and all other electronic devices. Using organic molecules and a chemical self-assembly process, the scientists have shrunk the size of the transistors to about one or two nanometers, or a billionth of a meter, which is an unprecedented scale.

In research to be presented in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature, the scientists also said they built a simple circuit module commonly used in computers, known as a voltage inverter, from the transistors.

``This is a beautiful, simple and clever approach,' said Paul Weiss, a professor of chemistry at Pennsylvania State University. ``It circumvents many of the difficulties inherent in other nano-fabrication approaches.''

Molecular switches have become something of a Holy Grail in the development of advanced electronics. Physical limits of the current generation of chips, made from silicon, are expected to block the development of more powerful devices within the next 10 to 15 years.

As computer chips are filled with more and more transistors, their ability to crunch numbers and process information grows. Some experts have envisioned microscopic computers that could be placed virtually anywhere without the need for constant recharging.

The research from Bell Labs, owned by Lucent Technologies Inc., adds to a growing list of successful experiments in molecular electronics, including work by International Business Machines Corp., which in August announced a circuit made up of carbon atoms rolled together into tubes.

The Bell Labs research, led by Hendrik Schon, used a separate class of organic material, known as thiols, in its research. The molecules, the researchers observed, worked well at both regulating and amplifying the flow of electricity.

``It's very hard to figure out how to electrically switch a molecule,'' and no one has ever made an electrical ``gate'' out of this type of molecule, said Tom Theis, the director of physical sciences at IBM's research division. ``If that's in fact what's going on, then its a very important step forward.''

The transistors were assembled using a novel approach in which the molecules in essence assemble themselves between electric conductors, or electrodes, made of gold.

The assembly technique is relatively easy and inexpensive, the researchers said, and it allows the production of very dense transistors. With a distance of only one and two nanometers between the electrodes, the so-called channel length of the transistor is the smallest every made.

Email this story - View most popular  |  Printer-friendly format

Archived Stories by Date:

News Resources
Message Boards: Post/Read Msgs (17 msg Oct 17, 11:04 PM ET)
Conversations: Start a live discussion

 Weekly Specials
4.5 state to state long distance
Mortgage Rates Drop Again! Refinance Now!
Get up to $80 cash back on Nokia Phones!
FREE credit report & trial membership!
Getsmart Visa! Apply now!
Find competitive mortgage rates at Getsmart!
Access Your PC from Anywhere-Free Download
Find old friends with!


Search News
Search:  Stories   Photos   Audio/Video   Full Coverage
Home  Top Stories  Business  Tech  Politics  World  Local  Entertainment  Sports  Op/Ed   Science   Health  Full Coverage

Copyright 2001 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.
Copyright 2001 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.
Questions or Comments
Privacy Policy - Terms of Service