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Research progresses toward critical molecular electronics measurements.

Research at NIST and a private company is progressing toward reliable methods for measuring the electrical behavior of molecular electronic devices, an emerging nanotechnology eyed for future integrated circuits.

Using a crossbar test structure consisting of a molecular monolayer sandwiched between a series of perpendicular metal wires, collaborators at separate facilities recorded nearly identical electrical measurements. This step, along with others taken to eliminate potential sources of error, ensures that the measured behavior is directly attributable to the device and not the experimental set up.

Electrical (current-voltage, or IV) measurements of crossbar devices containing eicosanoic acid exhibit a controllable, two-state switching behavior that is due to the presence of the molecular layer. However, the molecular monolayer is not the sole cause. Rather, the switch-like behavior most likely arises from the interaction of the molecules with the electrodes. This example illustrates that the properties of molecular electronic devices are often determined not by the molecule alone, but by the entire device that consists of both the molecules and the attachment electrodes.

This two-state behavior was independently measured in two separate laboratories, indicating that it is not a measurement artifact and illustrating that these devices are robust enough to ship via conventional methods and remain active.

In addition to IV measurements, what well may be the first capacitance-voltage (CV) measurements of molecular monolayer-based devices were taken at NIST. These CV curves also show two-state behavior.

This work was first reported on April 2, 2003, at the Government Microcircuit Applications and Critical Technology Conference 2003.

CONTACT: Curt Richter, (301) 975-2082;
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Title Annotation:General Developments
Publication:Journal of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jul 1, 2003
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