A potential solution to overcoming the fundamental scaling limits of silicon-based electronic circuitry is the use of a single molecular layer that self-organizes between two electrodes: so-called molecular electronics. Nature itself is highly efficient in using self-organized structures for electronic transport (photosynthesis in plants, nerve cells, etc.), and now similar self-organization of organic molecules is used to make electronic devices. Electric transport through single molecules has been studied extensively by both academic and industrial research groups. It has been demonstrated that the size of a diode, an element used in electronic circuitry, can be reduced reproducibly below 1.5 nm. Transport data, however, typically differ by many orders of magnitude and the fabrication hurdle is reliability and yield. Researchers in The Netherlands now have demonstrated a technology to manufacture reproducible molecular diodes with high yields (>95 %) with unprecedented lateral dimensions.
Coating metallic nanoparticles in boron nitride could lead to new biomaterials for medical research and applications as well as nanoscale electromagnetic high frequency nanoscale electromagnetic devices.
The area of nanodielectrics is relatively unexplored but research shows that nanocapacitors could find important applications for instance in energy storage and ultrasensitive transducers in nanoelectronic circuits.
Researchers in Finland and The Netherlands demonstrated that it is possible to grow and wire a single platinum nanoparticle using a single-walled carbon nanotube, thus providing a bottom-up approach to building nanoelectrodes.
Researchers in Switzerland have successfully integrated carbon nanotubes (CNTs) directly into a polysilicon chip. This technique is opening the way towards NEMS and CNT based system integration and the synthesis and evaluation of mechanical nano-scale transducers based on CNTs.
A new methodology for integrating nanowires with micropatterned substrates using directed assembly and nanoscale soldering was developed by researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. This overcomes the difficulty in making electrical contacts to nanoparticles, which so far has been a major limitation to fabricating integrated nanoelectronic devices containing large numbers of nanoparticles.