Precursor to Tiniest Chip Is Developed

The following NYTimes story was posted at Slashdot

In an advance that presages the tiniest of computer circuitry possible, researchers at Lucent Technologies have built a transistor in which the layer that switches currents on and off is only one molecule thick.

Dr. J. Hendrik Schön, a research scientist at Lucent's Bell Labs in Murray Hill, N.J., said the experiment proved that transistors that worked exactly like those in current computer chips could be built at the molecular scale.

"It shows what can be the ultimate limit for transistors," Dr. Schön said. The technology is years away from commercial applications.

An article describing findings by Dr. Schön, Dr. Hong Meng and Dr. Zhenan Bao, all of Bell Labs, appears in today's issue of the journal Nature.

"It is really, really nice work that will influence the field a lot," said Dr. James M. Tour, a professor of chemistry at Rice University. "They hit on something really big."

Transistors are essentially voltage-controlled switches. In the off state, no current can flow through, which represents a "0" in the binary language of computers. When an electric field is applied from the side, from a third terminal known as a gate electrode, the electronic properties shift and current starts to flow: the on or "1" position of the switch.

View: The article @ NYTimes

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