In electronics, how best to use an individual molecule?

This is the challenge that Mickaël Inkpen and Philippe Hapiot, from the Institut des Sciences Chimiques de Rennes (ISCR), set themselves with the European project MOLCLICK.
En électronique, comment utiliser au mieux une molécule individuelle ?

Context

The components of integrated circuits will reach the scale of a single molecule in 10 to 20 years if Moore's Law is followed.
Today, a typical study in this field involves the use of molecular components 'self-assembled' on a surface. They are prepared ex-situ and then studied by more or less complex procedures. However, simultaneous preparation and study by the same device has many advantages, especially in simplifying the preparation of complex molecular systems and their characterisation.

Objective

This project has two main directions:

  1. develop an unconventional "in situ" synthesis of electronic components based on a single molecule
  2. obtain a methodology based on local probe microscopy to evaluate the success of a chemical reaction at the single molecule scale

This latter approach is currently largely unexplored. It aims, for example, to rapidly select the best performing components for molecular electronics, in particular to improve rectification or conductance ratios. The project also aims to produce complex molecular 'testbeds' that can be used in the analysis and detection of trace molecules. This research thus concerns numerous applications in molecular electronics (data storage, calculation, etc.) and opens up interesting possibilities for analysis and catalysis.

Recruiting

During the first two years of the project, Michaël Inkpen chose to deepen and develop his research at Columbia University (USA). The third and final year will be spent at the Institute of Chemical Sciences in Rennes.

Identity card of the project

European project MOLCLICK - HORIZON 2020 Programme - Marie S. Action Curie Action

Beneficiary: Michaël INKPEN
Name of the Scientific Leader: Philippe HAPIOT
Laboratory / UMR: Institute of Chemical Sciences of Rennes - UMR CNRS 6226
Project duration: From 01/10/15 to 30/09/18 (3 years)