Researchers Create Molecule That Can Pave Manner for Mini-Transistors

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Manufacturing very small elements is a crucial problem in each analysis and growth. One instance is transistors – the smaller they’re, the sooner and extra power environment friendly our computer systems develop into. However is there a restrict to how small logic gates can develop into? And is it doable to create electrical machines on a molecular scale? Sure, maybe, is the reply from a chemistry analysis staff at Lund College.

“We have now developed a easy hydrocarbon molecule that adjustments its type, and on the identical time goes from insulating to conductive, when uncovered to electrical potential. The profitable method was to design a so-called anti-aromatic ring in a molecule in order that it turns into extra sturdy and might each obtain and relay electrons,” says Daniel Strand, chemistry researcher at Lund College.

Electrons Aromatic Rings Hydrocarbon Molecule

Illustration of electrons transferred between fragrant and non-aromatic rings in a hydrocarbon molecule. Credit score: Daniel Strand/Jonas Ahlstedt

Many natural molecules include fragrant benzene rings, ie flat rings made up of six carbon atoms. A easy instance is graphene. However, such molecules do not change properties or shape if subjected to electric potential. Therefore, the research group chose to look at hydrocarbons made up of rings with eight carbon atoms. These are anti-aromatic and bent into a tub-shape. If two electrons are injected into such a molecule, it flattens and goes from insulating to conducting – a function similar to that of a transistor switching from 0 to 1.

“A unique aspect of the molecules is that they are so simple. They only consist only of carbon and hydrogen atoms which makes them easier to produce synthetically,” says Daniel Strand. 

The discovery means researchers can now think about how to develop both electrical switches and new mechanical systems at the single-molecule level using anti-aromatic hydrocarbons. 

“Molecules that change form in response to electric potential lead to exciting possibilities. One can imagine energy-efficient computer architectures and in the future perhaps electric machines on a molecular scale,” concludes Daniel Strand.

Reference: “Electro-mechanically switchable hydrocarbons based on [8]annulenes” by Magdalena Tasić, Jakov Ivković, Göran Carlström, Michaela Melcher, Paolo Bollella, Jesper Bendix, Lo Gorton, Petter Persson, Jens Uhlig and Daniel Strand, 14 February 2022, Nature Communications.
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-28384-8

The examine was an interdisciplinary collaboration between analysis teams in natural, analytical, and theoretical chemistry in addition to chemical physics at Lund College and the College of Copenhagen.

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