A team of researchers form the US and Israel have developed the world’s smallest diode, the size of a single molecule. The scientists, from the University of Georgia in the US and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Israel, collaborated to create the nanoscopic electronic device, which may mark a further step in demolishing Moore’s Law.
“Creating and characterizing the world’s smallest diode is a significant milestone in the development of molecular electronic devices,” Dr. Yoni Dubi, a researcher in the BGU Department of Chemistry and Ilse Katz Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology, told Phys.org. “It gives us new insights into the electronic transport mechanism.”
The researchers used a single DNA molecule, made from 11 base pairs and supplemented with inserted coralyne, and connected it to an electric circuit that measured mere nanometres. When electricity was passed through the molecule, the current increased to 15x negative vs. positive voltages, which effectively describes a diode.
“In summary, we have constructed a molecular rectifier by intercalating specific, small molecules into designed DNA strands,” explains Prof. Xu.
The design has only been tested in a theoretical model so far, but the research seems promising. “The model allowed us to identify the source of the diode-like feature, which originates from breaking spatial symmetry inside the DNA molecule after coralyne is inserted,” Xu added.