Since the time we first saw birth of transistor we have seen it reducing in size. It used to be couple of inches fabricated as vacuum tubes. These 62 years of evolution has brought them to size of 32 nm. But what comes now is something that every researcher dreamed of: A single-molecule transistor. This is hell small piece of electronics.
The transistor is basically benzene molecule attached to gold contacts, behaves just like a silicon transistor.
The molecule’s different energy states can be manipulated by varying the voltage applied to it through the contacts. And by manipulating the energy states, researchers were able to control the current passing through it. Now molecular transistors could escalate the next step of developing nano-machines that would take just a few atoms to perform complex calculations, enabling massive parallel computers to be built.
The challenges they have faced include being able to fabricate the electrical contacts on such small scales, identifying the molecules to use, and figuring out where to place them and how to connect them to the contacts.
Despite the significance of the latest breakthrough, practical applications such as smaller and faster molecular computers could be decades away, says Reed.
This is an incredible achievement because of the potential applications in nanomachines since a few atoms would be enough to “perform complex calculations.” It will take some time before we would see the technology taking real life applications, but when it does, I wont be surprised to see a supercomputer of a size of normal PC processor.