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Successful Test Of Single Molecule Switch Opens The Door To Biomolecular Electronics

A team of scientists led by biophysicist Stuart Lindsay from the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University has created the first reproducible single molecule negative differential resistor ?and in the process has developed a groundbreaking experimental technique that provides a “roadmap?for designing single-molecule devices based on biochemistry.

The findings were presented Feb. 18 by Lindsay at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Washington , D.C. , in a session titled “Frontiers in Bioinspired Materials and Nanosystems.?The findings also will be reported in a forthcoming edition of the American Chemical Society’s journal Nano Letters.

Lindsay’s team reports achieving an experimental result that physicists have been trying to detect for a long time: negative differential resistance in a single molecule attached to electrodes.

The specifically designed molecule, a hepta-aniline oglimer, belongs to a group of molecules that biochemists believe to be capable of being molecular switches but that have failed to exhibit those properties in conductance experiments. The team solved the problem by developing a technique where the molecule could be tested in an electrolyte solution, a condition that past experiments didn’t attempt because of the problem of interaction between the solution and the electrodes.

“Almost everything we know about charge transfer in molecules is based on measurements made with the molecules suspended in solution,?Lindsay says. “Chemists have understood for a while that the solvent itself plays a major part in charge transfer processes ?the ions in the solution are necessary to make the process happen. Yet almost every ‘molecular electronic?measurement made to date has been made in a vacuum or other conditions that suppress solvent-mediated events. It’s no wonder that we could not get reliable results.?/p>

Though numerous molecules have been identified as targets for use
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Source:Arizona State University


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