from the molectronics dept.
A team led by Mark Reed of Yale University and James Tour of Rice University have developed a prototype random access computer memory cell in which information is recorded, read and erased by molecular switches. The prototype system uses molecular switches consisting of rod-like organic molecules that carry a current between two gold electrodes.
According to their report, the electrodes make contact over a roughly circular area 30ñ50 millionths of a millimeter wide, which contains about a thousand molecules. All of the molecules are switched together by the voltage pulses applied to the electrodes. So each bit of information is stored in a thousand molecules. The researchers say that if molecules could be wired up individually each molecule encodes a bit. The research was reported in the 4 June 2001 issue of Applied Physics Letters.
James Tour described some aspects of this work at the Eighth Foresight Conference in November 2000.