Scientists Take Step Toward Single-Molecule Switches

June 22, 2001 | Source: Science

Computers of the future may have components that function based on the action of single molecules, according to a paper by researchers at Penn State and Rice University published in the June 22 edition of Science.

Single molecule in ON and OFF states

Single molecule in ON and OFF states

Conformational changes — which happen when molecules alter their arrangement by rotation of their atoms around a single bond, effectively changing shape by moving or turning — determine how and when that conductance switching occurs in those molecules.

Researchers determined that limiting conformational changes reduces switching between the “on” and “off” states. Next step: figuring out how to control switching.