January 20, 2006

Molecular electronics- carbon nanotubes linked by organic molecules in an electronic switch

In the Jan. 20, 2006, issue of Science, Columbia scientists explain how they have developed a unique way to connect the ends of carbon nanotubes by forming robust molecular bridges between them. The Columbia team was able to combine the best qualities of carbon nanotubes and organic molecules in a single electronic switch, the journal reported. Attaching molecular wires to single-walled nanotubes involves cutting a tube using nanolithography combined with a localized oxidation process that leaves a nanotube with two ends that are capped with carbon-based acid groups and separated by a molecule-sized gap. In that tiny space, a molecule can be chemically joined with each end to form a robust nanotube/molecule complex, which operates as a nanoscale transistor.

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