Magazine article Science News

Carbon-Nanotube Device Stores Data in Molecules

Magazine article Science News

Carbon-Nanotube Device Stores Data in Molecules

Article excerpt

If all goes according to some researchers' plans, organic molecules will replace silicon as the workhorses in electronic devices. Edging toward that goal, chemists at the University of California, Los Angeles have fabricated a memory device in which data are stored in organic molecules connected to a carbon nanotube.

Storing data in such tiny amounts of material could enable chip manufacturers to dramatically boost the storage capacity of memory devices, such as the dynamic random access memory in personal computers and the flash-memory chips in digital cameras. And UCLA team member Hsian-Rong Tseng estimates that 1 gram of these molecules could supply enough memory for all new computers worldwide for several years.

Rather than encode Is and Os on the basis of the amount of charge stored in a memory cell, as conventional memory chips do, the UCLA approach encodes data in catenane molecules, each of which has two interlocked rings.

The researchers, led by Fraser Stoddart, sandwich the catenanes between two electrodes. The top electrode is made of metal and the bottom one is a carbon nanotube that resembles rolled-up chicken wire and measures just I nanometer in diameter. An applied voltage strips electrons from one ring of each catenane. This causes the electron-depleted ring to rotate 180[degrees] relative to the other ring, placing the molecule in the "on" state. An opposite voltage replenishes the lost electrons, causing the ring to rotate back to its original configuration, the "off" state. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.