Invent Tiny Transistor Photos
D. Ian Hopper, AP Technology Writer
(AP) - When two Bell Labs scientists invented the transistor
in 1947, it was as tall as the face of a wristwatch. Now,
another Bell team has made a transistor from a single
molecule - small enough to fit about 10 million on the
head of a pin.
may become the cornerstone of a new era,'' Bell Labs vice
president Federico Capasso said.
predict that silicon transistors, the bedrock element
for current computers, are expected to be made as small
as physically possible in the second decade of the century.
Organic nanotransistors represent a new step for computing
that extends beyond that barrier, and can be used in computers
on paper, clothes and everywhere else.
might think about flexible electronics, some things in
which silicon cannot do,'' said physicist Hendrik Schon
of the Bell three-member team.
invention by Schon and chemists Zhenan Bao and Hong Meng
threatens to make Moore's Law - the axiom named after
an Intel Corp. co-founder who predicted that the number
of transistors on a piece of silicon would double roughly
every 18 months - a footnote in history.
think it will show more or less ... the ultimate limit
for Moore's Law,'' Schon said.
breakthrough was published Thursday on the Web site of
the journal Science.
University professor David Goldhaber-Gordon called the
invention ``really remarkable.''
really looks for all the world like a standard silicon
transistor, and in some ways even has better parameters,''
transistors generally translate to speedier devices. Intel
and other chipmakers squeeze millions of transistors on
a single microprocessor to power computers, and the techniques
needed do to so are very expensive.
said the molecular transistor is cheap to make, and can
be done in an ordinary lab rather than the ultra-sanitary
``clean room'' now used by chipmakers.
team used ``conjugated molecules'' made out of carbon,
hydrogen and sulfur. The solution is poured from a beaker
onto gold electrodes, and the transistors form by themselves.
transistor, which Schon called the ``ultimate limit for
miniaturization,'' faces several years of testing and
improvements before it can be used in products. Schon
and his team also need to figure out how it works.
were some pleasant surprises in the observed experimental
results,'' Schon said. ``Now we have to work on getting
a better understanding of what's going on this scale.''
are taking great strides in organic computing. The last
leap was also made by Schon's team, just a month ago,
when they created a transistor out of a cluster of molecules.
August, IBM researchers created a simple logic circuit
on a carbon nanotube, a single-molecule strand of carbon.
said researchers have too much invested in silicon to
see it replaced by molecular cousins anytime soon, but
suggested the new device's small size would be useful
for biological sensors.
to 50 years of development plus the GNP of a decent sized
country will get you quite a lot,'' Goldhaber-Gordon said
of silicon research.
can go smaller than molecules, as any high school chemistry
student knows. While Schon said he is skeptical of theories
concerning atomic and subatomic quantum transistors, he
won't go so far as to doubt the ingenuity of future inventors.
people have ideas about making chains of atoms and then
maybe moving the atoms to change the conductance. But
I don't see how you can amplify signals with that,'' Schon
said. ``I don't know, maybe some people will come up with
the Net: Bell Labs: http://www.bell-labs.com