Molecular Diode Breakthrough: A New Era for Plastic?

Eindhoven, Netherlands: Scientists from the Dutch University of Groningen and Philips Research have fabricated arrays of molecular diodes on standard substrates with high yields. The 1.5mm molecular diodes are suitable for integration into standard plastic-electronics circuits.

Based on construction principles known as molecular selforganisation, molecular electronics is a promising new approach for manufacturing electronics circuits in addition to today’s conventional semiconductor processing.

Molecular electronics can be regarded as the next evolutionary stage for plastic electronics. Molecular electronics holds the potential to fabricate elements for electronics circuits with functionality that’s embedded in just a single layer of molecules.

Instead of using photolithography or printing techniques to etch or print nanoscale circuits, molecular electronics can be engineered to use organic molecules that spontaneously form the correct structures via selforganisation.

Well-defined, molecular-electronics- based diodes can only be made when the molecules are sandwiched between two metallic electrodes. To this end, functional molecules spontaneously form a densely packed monolayer on the bottom electrode.

The technology developed by the research team uses monolayers confined to predefined holes in a polymer, which is applied on top of the bottom electrode. The key to their success is the deposition of an additional plastic electrode layer onto the monolayer prior to the deposition of the metallic electrode. The plastic electrode protects the monolayer, and as such, enables a nondetrimental deposition of the gold electrode.

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