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Nanotechnology. 2013 Dec 20;24(50):505202. doi: 10.1088/0957-4484/24/50/505202. Epub 2013 Nov 22.

A multiscale simulation technique for molecular electronics: design of a directed self-assembled molecular n-bit shift register memory device.

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CSIRO Energy Technology, Life Sciences Centre, 11 Julius Avenue, North Ryde, NSW, 2113, Australia. School of Chemistry, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, 2006, Australia.


A general method useful in molecular electronics design is developed that integrates modelling on the nano-scale (using quantum-chemical software) and on the micro-scale (using finite-element methods). It is applied to the design of an n-bit shift register memory that could conceivably be built using accessible technologies. To achieve this, the entire complex structure of the device would be built to atomic precision using feedback-controlled lithography to provide atomic-level control of silicon devices, controlled wet-chemical synthesis of molecular insulating pillars above the silicon, and controlled wet-chemical self-assembly of modular molecular devices to these pillars that connect to external metal electrodes (leads). The shift register consists of n connected cells that read data from an input electrode, pass it sequentially between the cells under the control of two external clock electrodes, and deliver it finally to an output device. The proposed cells are trimeric oligoporphyrin units whose internal states are manipulated to provide functionality, covalently connected to other cells via dipeptide linkages. Signals from the clock electrodes are conveyed by oligoporphyrin molecular wires, and μ-oxo porphyrin insulating columns are used as the supporting pillars. The developed multiscale modelling technique is applied to determine the characteristics of this molecular device, with in particular utilization of the inverted region for molecular electron-transfer processes shown to facilitate latching and control using exceptionally low energy costs per logic operation compared to standard CMOS shift register technology.

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