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Published January 25, 2007 | Supplemental Material
Journal Article Open

A 160-kilobit molecular electronic memory patterned at 10^(11) bits per square centimetre


The primary metric for gauging progress in the various semiconductor integrated circuit technologies is the spacing, or pitch, between the most closely spaced wires within a dynamic random access memory (DRAM) circuit. Modern DRAM circuits have 140nm pitch wires and a memory cell size of 0.0408 μm^2. Improving integrated circuit technology will require that these dimensions decrease over time. However, at present a large fraction of the patterning and materials requirements that we expect to need for the construction of new integrated circuit technologies in 2013 have 'no known solution'. Promising ingredients for advances in integrated circuit technology are nanowires, molecular electronics and defect-tolerant architectures, as demonstrated by reports of single devices and small circuits. Methods of extending these approaches to large-scale, high-density circuitry are largely undeveloped. Here we describe a 160,000-bit molecular electronic memory circuit, fabricated at a density of 10^(11) bits cm^(-2) (pitch 33 nm; memory cell size 0.0011 mm^2), that is, roughly analogous to the dimensions of a DRAM circuit projected to be available by 2020. A monolayer of bistable, [2]rotaxane molecules 10 served as the data storage elements. Although the circuit has large numbers of defects, those defects could be readily identified through electronic testing and isolated using software coding. The working bits were then configured to form a fully functional random access memory circuit for storing and retrieving information.

Additional Information

© 2007 Macmillan Publishers Limited. Received 18 July; accepted 16 November 2006. This work was supported primarily by the DARPA MolApps Program with additional support from the MARCO Center for Advanced Materials and Devices and the National Science Foundation. J.W.C. and Y.S.S. acknowledge fellowships from the Samsung Corporation.We are grateful to Y. Liu and S. Saha for preparing the [2]rotaxane molecule used in this work. The [2]rotaxane molecular switches were designed and originally synthesized by H.-R.T. and J.F.S. All other authors contributed to the design, fabrication and testing of the memory circuit.

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