Nanoscale tinkering creates SETs, assembly modules

A pair of reports in the 21 November 2001 issue of Technology Research News (TRN) Magazine, provide some interesting examples of the many different approaches being pursued to develop nanoscale devices and tools.
The first ("Spot of gold makes tiny transistor", by Chhavi Sachdev) describes work by researchers from Sweden and Denmark at Lund University who have found a way to use carbon nanotubes as electronic leads that connect a circuit with a tiny particle of gold to form a single-electron transistor (SET).
The second ("Chemists create nano toolkit", by Eric Smalley) describes work by a team of researchers at the National Institute for Materials Science in Japan and the Communications Research Laboratory in Japan has come up with a kind of toolkit for building structures out of ring-shaped porphyrin molecules. But, as the article points out, "creating tiny structures is only half the game . . . The researchers also need to make the structures do something, like conduct electricity or convert light signals to electric signals. But even if the porphyrin molecules were not useful by themselves they could be augmented by other atoms or molecules."

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