Computer Chips Can Be Made Smaller By A Molecular Insulator Designed By A Team Of Scientists

The first insulating molecule which is believed to be more effective than a vacuum barrier has been developed by a team of international researchers and scientists consisting of scientists from Denmark, China and America. The new discovery is believed to be bale to make transistors in a computer chip much smaller and yet more powerful.

The designing of and development of extremely rigid silicon-based molecule which is under one nanometer in length and which is able to block tunneling conduction at the nanoscale was reported by the scientists in a study report that was published earlier in t week in the journal Nature.

In situations, when the gap between two metal electrodes becomes so small that electrons are no longer contained by their barriers and results is leakage current, this phenomenon called “quantum mechanical tunneling” becomes a the most important challenge. According to the researchers, this process leads to one of the major hurdles that come in the way of transistors being made smaller.

“Our molecular strategy represents a new design principle for classic devices, with the potential to support continued miniaturization in the near term,” said Columbia University engineering physicist and the paper’s co-author Latha Venkataraman. She is the head of the lab where researcher Li Haixing conducted the project’s experimental work.

Xiao Shengxiong’s team of the Shanghai Normal University collaborated with a Lab at Columbia’s Department of Chemistry for the process of molecular synthesis.

The paper’s lead author Marc Garner, a chemist in the University of Copenhagen’s Solomon Lab, which took care of the theoretical part of the study said that a complete cancellation of tunneling probability was possible by the designing of the synthetic molecule which shows comprehensive destructive interference signatures.

In a situation when the peaks and valleys of two waves are placed exactly out of phase, which results in them being able to annul oscillation, is when destructive quantum interference happens.

Electronic waves can be perceived to be similar or analogous to sound waves, according to the researchers, and these waves flow through barriers just as sound waves “leak” through walls. The requirement for tunneling was mitigated and there was no requirement of, in this analogy, a thicker wall, by the unique properties that are shown by the team’s molecule.

And because the silicon based insulator is compatible with current industry standards, therefore this strategy also offers a potentially more factory-ready solution.

(Adapted from


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