Researchers developed world’s smallest diode

Apr 6, 2016 12:14 IST

Researchers from the University of Georgia and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) developed the world's smallest diode, the size of a single molecule. The breakthrough could impact the development of molecular electronic devices.

Their study was published in journal Nature Chemistry on 4 April 2016.

The nanoscale diode or molecular rectifier operates like a valve to facilitate electronic current flow in one direction. A collection of these nanoscale diodes, or molecules, contains properties that resemble traditional electronic components, such as a wire, transistor or rectifier.

How the diode was developed?

Professor Bingqian Xu from the College of Engineering at the University of Georgia and his team of researchers took a single DNA molecule made from 11 base pairs and connected it to an electronic circuit just a few nanometers in size.

When they measured the current through the molecule, it did not show anything special, but when layers of a molecule called coralyne were inserted between layers of DNA, the behavior of the circuit changed. At that time, the current jumped up to 15 times larger negative versus positive voltages, which is necessary for a nano diode.

The researchers constructed a molecular rectifier by intercalating specific, small molecules into designed DNA strands.

The researchers then developed a theoretical model of the DNA molecule inside the electric circuit that helped them identify the source of the diode-like feature.

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