In research appearing in today's issue of the journal Nature Nanotechnology, Nongjian "NJ" Tao, a researcher at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, has demonstrated a clever way of controlling electrical conductance of a single molecule, by exploiting the molecule's mechanical properties.
Such control may eventually play a role in the design of ultra-tiny electrical gadgets, created to perform myriad useful tasks, from biological and chemical sensing to improving telecommunications and computer memory.
Tao leads a research team used to dealing with the challenges entailed in creating electrical devices of this size, where quirky effects of the quantum world often dominate device behavior. As Tao explains, one such issue is defining and controlling the electrical conductance of a single molecule, attached to a pair of gold electrodes.
"Some molecules have unusual electromechanical properties, which are unlike silicon-based materials. A molecule can also recognize other molecules via specific interactions." These unique properties can offer tremendous functional flexibility to designers of nanoscale devices.
Written by: Richard Harth Scvience Writer: The Biodesign Institute firstname.lastname@example.org
The research was supported by the Department of Energy—Basic Energy Science program.
In addition to directing the Biodesign Institute's Center for Bioelectronics and Biosensors, Tao is a professor in the School of Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering, at ASU's Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, and an affiliated professor of chemistry and biochemistry, physics and material engineering.
Contact: Joseph Caspermeyer Joseph.Caspermeyer@asu.edu || Arizona State University