Precursors to molecular wires build themselves

Edit Hook

Molecular nano-wires are a promising technological advancement that could revolutionize the transfer and storage of information in the future. University of Toronto researchers have developed a procedure for persuading certain molecules to self-assemble into indefinitely long chains that can form the precursor for nano-wires. The procedure involves a simple molecule that chemically reacts with a surface, causing it to change its properties so that another molecule can readily bind to it. This reaction causes a molecular chain to spontaneously grow without direct guidance from a chemist. The molecular chains formed from this reaction are a suitable prototype for future nano-wires.

Key Differentiators

Most recent advancement in the development of nano-wires involves painstakingly forming chains of molecules on a surface one molecule at a time. This process allows the molecules to do all of the work, self-assembling into long chains without the direct involvement of a chemist. Molecular wires that can transfer information could eventually replace traditional electrical ciurcuits and silicon-based computing, minimizing the material needed to create computers and other electronic devices.

Biomimicry Story

Self-assembly is a common theme in nature as biological organisms must assemble themselves, often starting with only a few molecules or cells, and eventually grouping and organizing into complex and multi-functional structures. Nature can accomplish this without the direct aid of abstract thought through chemical reactions and physics. This process for creating nano-wires mimics the natural growth of organisms and applies it to the formulation of future circuitry.

Challenges Solved

Bulky and inefficient energy and information transfer systems

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