Scientists create single molecule diode

Single molecule deviceScientists at Columbia University said they have come up with a design for a single molecule diode and have also devised molecular diodes that perform 50 times better.

Under the direction of Latha Venkataraman, an associate professor at the university, the team believes their discovery will have real world technology aapplications for minute, nanoscale devices.

The illustration of the molecule shows a “non trivial” rectification ratio overloaid on the raw current versus voltage data.

Venkataraman said that the single molecule diode has a high rectification and a high “on” current of around 0.1 micro amps.

“Constructing a device where the active elements are only a single molecule has long been a tantalising dream in nanoscience.”

Well designed diodes should only let current flow in one direction and this works better through asymmetry, which the group achieved by surrounding the active molecule with an ionic solution, and using gold metal electrodes to contact the molecule itself.

The money for the research came for the US National Science Foundation, the US Department of Energy, and the Packard Foundation.