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Molybenum atom acts as electronic switch

Technology News |
By eeNews Europe

The research team comprises scientists form TU Wien, the University of Vienna, the University of Zurich and IBM Zurich. The team synthesised organometallic molecular structures endowed with individual metal atoms of iron, ruthenium or molybdenum at their center. For one the molybdenum molecule types it was observed that the conductivity could be changed by a factor of 1,000 by the movement of a single electron in or out of a valence band of the atom.

"If the space is occupied, relatively little current will flow at a low voltage. At a higher voltage, however, the electron can be dislodged from its special place on the molybdenum atom. As a result, the system switches to a new state with conductivity improved by a factor of around a thousand, causing a sharp increase in the current flow," said Robert Stadler, one of the researchers, in a statement. "Both a switching and selection process can therefore be carried out via the two gold contacts, between which the molecule is fixed. A third electrode, as is usually required for a conventional transistor, is no longer necessary, which simplifies the wiring process significantly." 

The experiments to confirm the effect were conducted at low temperatures and in ultra high vacuum. However, IBM is working on designs to incorporate several of these molecules in nanopores on a silicon chip, so that they function under normal environmental conditions at room temperature.

Applications for the technology could include high density memory 

Related links and articles:

www.tuwien.ac.at

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