Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hankering For Molecular Electronics? Grab The New NIST Sandwich

Date:
August 28, 2009
Source:
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Summary:
Scientists have found a simple method of sandwiching organic molecules between silicon and metal, two materials fundamental to electronic components. By doing so, they may have overcome one of the principal obstacles in creating switches made from individual molecules.

The flip-chip lamination method creates an ultra-smooth gold surface, which allows the organic molecules to form a thin yet even layer between the gold and silicon.
Credit: Coll Bau, NIST

The sandwich recipe recently concocted by scientists working at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) may prove tasty for computer chip designers, who have long had an appetite for molecule-sized electronic components – but no clear way to satisfy it until now.

The research team, which includes collaborators from the University of Maryland, has found a simple method of sandwiching organic molecules between silicon and metal, two materials fundamental to electronic components. By doing so, the team may have overcome one of the principal obstacles in creating switches made from individual molecules, which represent perhaps the ultimate in miniaturization for the electronics industry.

The idea of using molecules as switches has been around for years, carrying the promise of components that can be produced cheaply in huge numbers, perform faster as a group than their larger silicon brethren, and use only a tiny fraction of their energy. But although there has been progress in creating the switching molecules themselves, the overall concept has been stuck on drawing boards in large part because organic molecules are delicate and tend to be damaged irreparably when subjected to one particularly stressful step in the chip-building process: attaching them to electrical contacts.

Metal forms many of these contacts in chip circuits, but getting metal onto a chip involves heating it until it evaporates, then allowing it to condense on the silicon. “Imagine what hot steam would do to your arm,” says Mariona Coll Bau, a materials scientist at NIST. “Evaporated metal is much hotter, and organic switching molecules are very fragile—they can’t stand the heat.”

Coll Bau’s team, however, found a way to cool the kitchen. They cover a surface with a non-stick material before condensing gold on top of it, allowing the metal to cool to an ultra-smooth surface. They then laminate the gold surface with the plastic used in overhead transparencies. The non-stick layer allows them to remove the laminated gold from the surface as easily as peeling off plastic wrap. Adding the organic molecules then is comparatively simple: attach the molecules to the gold and then flip the whole assembly onto a silicon base, with the organic molecules sandwiched neatly inside—and intact.

Though scientists have attempted to make sandwiches of this sort before, Coll Bau says their first-ever use of an imprinting machine finally made it possible to assemble the ingredients effectively. “The machine allows us to press the three layers together so the organic molecules contact both the silicon and gold, but without smashing or otherwise degrading them,” she says.

Coll Bau adds that “flip-chip lamination,” as the team calls it, could lead to applications beyond chip design, including biosensors, which depend on the organic and electronic worlds interacting. “The technique may prove useful as a fabrication paradigm,” she says. “It’s hard to make small things, and this might be an easier way to make them.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Coll et al. Formation of Silicon-Based Molecular Electronic Structures Using Flip-Chip Lamination. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2009; 131 (34): 12451 DOI: 10.1021/ja901646j

Cite This Page:

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). "Hankering For Molecular Electronics? Grab The New NIST Sandwich." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 August 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090826152812.htm>.
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). (2009, August 28). Hankering For Molecular Electronics? Grab The New NIST Sandwich. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090826152812.htm
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). "Hankering For Molecular Electronics? Grab The New NIST Sandwich." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090826152812.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stranded Whale Watching Boat Returns to Boston

Stranded Whale Watching Boat Returns to Boston

Reuters - US Online Video (July 29, 2014) Passengers stuck overnight on a whale watching boat return safely to Boston. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

AFP (July 29, 2014) Coal mining is one of the major industries in Baluchistan but a lack of infrastructure and frequent accidents mean that the area has yet to hit its potential. Duration: 01:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short

Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short

AP (July 29, 2014) The U.S. nuclear industry started building its first new plants using prefabricated Lego-like blocks meant to save time and prevent the cost overruns that crippled the sector decades ago. So far, it's not working. (July 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins