Nanotubes Self-assemble into Circuit Elements

March 28, 2002 | Source: EE Times

Researchers at Purdue University have created Nanotubes measuring just 100 atoms in diameter.Nanotube “parent” molecules were developed. These molecules self-assemble in water to form tiny rings, which then snap together, forming long tubes.

The outside of these tubes has “hooks” on which to hang other molecules. This allows the resulting nanotube to be used for specific electronic applications — virtually forming angstrom-sized circuit elements.

Professor Hicham Fenniri’s research group has experimented with two parent molecules. One grows conventional wires for electricity and one grows light-processing, photonic devices. They intend to focus next on electronic components.

Fenniri has applied for a patent for his “rosette nanotubes” as a new class of self-assembling organic structures.

So far, the team has verified the ability to control the diameter and length of the nanotubes, as well as how to introduce metallic molecules that conduct electricity and photonic molecules that process light. Electronic components, such as transistors, are in development.

The group hopes to grow working circuits on electronic substrates by “writing” nanotube structures onto the wafers using nanolithography.