Yale research team first to describe molecular-sized memory

November 01, 1999

New Haven, Conn. -- Computer storage capacity can be vastly increased using a molecular memory based on a single molecule, a research team from Yale and Rice Universities has discovered.

The discovery attacks one of the major problems facing the microelectronics industry -- cost. Detailed results of the study will be presented at the International Electron Devices Meeting in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 6, 1999.

The tremendous improvements and reduced cost seen over the last three decades in electronics -- computers, telecommunications, multimedia -- will eventually stop because circuits cannot be made smaller economically, says Mark Reed, Harold Hodgkinson Professor of Engineering and Applied Science and chair of electrical engineering at Yale.

"We've demonstrated a memory element the size of a single molecule," said Reed, principal investigator on the paper. "This is the ultimate in size that one can achieve in microminaturization. The fabrication of the molecular memory was done using a method called 'self-assembly,' which has the potential to dramatically reduce cost."

The single molecule memory effect is more robust in storing information than conventional silicon memory, which is typically 'dynamic random access memories' (DRAM). The single molecule memory has a life approximately one million times longer than DRAM, which is not capable of holding stored charges for long.

"With the single molecule memory, all a general-purpose ultimate molecular computer now needs is a reversible single molecule switch," said Reed. "I anticipate we will see a demonstration of one very soon."

Papers presented at the International Electron Devices Meeting represent the world's leading applied research in electronics. As such, the papers give important clues about where electronics technology will be three-to-five years from now. The meeting runs from December 5-8, 1999.

The research team consisted of Reed and graduate student Jia Chen in Yale's electrical engineering department; and Professor James Tour and graduate student Adam Rawlett of the Department of Chemistry and Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology at Rice University.

Yale University

Related Engineering Articles from Brightsurf:

Re-engineering antibodies for COVID-19
Catholic University of America researcher uses 'in silico' analysis to fast-track passive immunity

Next frontier in bacterial engineering
A new technique overcomes a serious hurdle in the field of bacterial design and engineering.

COVID-19 and the role of tissue engineering
Tissue engineering has a unique set of tools and technologies for developing preventive strategies, diagnostics, and treatments that can play an important role during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Engineering the meniscus
Damage to the meniscus is common, but there remains an unmet need for improved restorative therapies that can overcome poor healing in the avascular regions.

Artificially engineering the intestine
Short bowel syndrome is a debilitating condition with few treatment options, and these treatments have limited efficacy.

Reverse engineering the fireworks of life
An interdisciplinary team of Princeton researchers has successfully reverse engineered the components and sequence of events that lead to microtubule branching.

New method for engineering metabolic pathways
Two approaches provide a faster way to create enzymes and analyze their reactions, leading to the design of more complex molecules.

Engineering for high-speed devices
A research team from the University of Delaware has developed cutting-edge technology for photonics devices that could enable faster communications between phones and computers.

Breakthrough in blood vessel engineering
Growing functional blood vessel networks is no easy task. Previously, other groups have made networks that span millimeters in size.

Next-gen batteries possible with new engineering approach
Dramatically longer-lasting, faster-charging and safer lithium metal batteries may be possible, according to Penn State research, recently published in Nature Energy.

Read More: Engineering News and Engineering Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.