Microscopic computers: the wires of the future can be made of molecules

How powerful can computers become? There are physical limitations if they retain their size. But molecular electronics can solve this problem, and now the University of Southern Denmark (SDU) researchers are contributing to this area with a new, efficient, molecular-based conductive material. The study is published in the journal of the American Chemical Society.

Our computers are becoming more and more powerful. Increasingly, they are becoming smaller – just think about what a standard smartphone can do today compared to what technologies mankind had just a few years ago.

But development cannot last long.

With modern technology, scientists will soon reach the limit of how small the components inside the computer can be. Current silicone-based developments have reached the limit over the next 10 years, and researchers have no technology to replace them yet. But molecules are those candidates that can become the engine of progress.

Future wires

An international team of scientists led by Steffen Bering has just published a new scientific study on the composition of molecules in liquids and in crystalline state.

“We observe good conductivity, which is an extremely important feature when it comes to the development of electronic devices and computers of the future”.

Steffen Bering, SDU

Scientists believe that if we need even more powerful computers that would retain their size or become smaller, then electronics will have to switch to molecular measurements. In this case, the dimensions of the individual components will be less than a nanometer.

The new “molecular wire” that researchers describe in their article is a good example of new technology and an elegant system, the researchers are sure.

For the first time, only neutral molecules are used to work, which are able to recognize and find each other in solution, forming a well-defined three-dimensional structure. And it has semiconductor properties. By inserting various components, we can change the conductivity and control the system.

The new system is different from the previous ones, which are based on salts containing metals. They are not able to form various structures.

One of the problems in creating electronic devices from molecules is that molecular wires must have satisfactory conductive properties. But there is another problem: stability. She is the biggest weakness of molecular electronics. These are electroactive materials, and when they are supplied with energy, the molecules are charged and become “fragile”.