Professor Hidemi Shigekawa's group at the University of Tsukuba has established a technique for changing the amount of electric current by sandwiching small molecules between silicon electrodes and adjusting the intervals.This technology has the potential to take the current semiconductor technology to a new level.
Semiconductor technology currently used in computers and the like has dramatically improved its performance for about half a century by making the elements printed on silicon substrates smaller.However, if it becomes too small, it will not be possible to control the current flowing through the element well, so it is said that further miniaturization is difficult.In order to continue progressing in the future, the development of new technologies is required.Molecular electronics is a candidate for this.Further miniaturization is possible by using molecules that are much smaller than conventional silicon devices.To achieve this, it is necessary to sandwich the molecule between electrodes and control the current flowing through it.
Professor Shigekawa et al. Achieved this by arranging molecules on a silicon substrate and connecting minute silicon needles to the molecules.It is possible to control the current by moving the position of the needle using the board and the needle as electrodes.In the future, if it becomes possible to regularly arrange innumerable molecules connected to needles on a substrate like semiconductor devices, it can be expected to be a major breakthrough in conventional electronics.
The increase in computer processing speed until around 2000 was remarkable, but there have been no significant advances in recent years.The direction of development is shifting to parallelization and low power consumption, in which multiple processes are performed at the same time, without changing the processing speed so much.It is said that no higher speed is needed for home use, but if 4K class video becomes widespread, demand will increase again.On the contrary, if the computer side speeds up again, it may lead to the spread of 4K content.