from the it-was-right-here-just-a-minute-ago! dept.
WillWare writes "Heise On-Line recently carried this story about what appear to be working quantum dots, made by a couple of chemists in Essen. Translation below rendered by Babelfish with a little help where it made obvious mistakes."
(I think Babelfish means "prize" instead of "price" for the "Förderpreis".) The Babelfish translation:
Scientists of the University of Essen succeeded in forming regular nano-structures from Gold-55 clusters. The microscopic "gold nuggets" could be used as tiny single electron memory for the building of new memory chips. For this discovery the two chemists Monika Baeumle and Norbert Beyer are distinguished on today's 18 May 2000 with the Foerderpreis of the Industrie-Clubs Duesseldorf and the Wissenschaftszentrums Nordrhein-Westfalen (center of science North Rhine-Westphalia). This price is doped with 20.000 Marks.
Normally gold leads electric current very well. But per small accumulations of gold, in the stronger measure behave this cluster in such a way specified like electrical memory. They can take up and so for a long time store individual electrons, until an electrical voltage "out-sucks" them again. Things like such nano-cluster are called also points of quantum (quantum dots). Due to the suggested characteristics they are the ideal candidates for molecular switches: Transistors in nanometer size.
The scientists achieved the regular arrangement the gold cluster, by using the principle of self-organiztion: They held one with a special plastic coated conductive document into a goldhaltige solution and observed under the electron microscope that the gold balls arranged themselves on it like marbles on the soil of a box. So that the tiny gold nuggets do not stick together with other type comrades to larger things, everyone of them is surrounded with a thin plastic covering. It consists of interlaced acid molecules and works also as electrical isolation. The suitable plastic of the document coating lets the molecules of the sleeve react with the background optimally. The automatic workstation search is supported by the fact that the found carrier plastic indicates obviously exactly fitting molecule-large furrows, which lead the gold particles with their position search. In such a manner in line up and arranged member, can the sample of point of quantum over a nano-electrode directly with electrons be described. Succeeds building with this method of memory modules a millionfold higher memory density than with is past techniques to expect – and with switching times, which are around several orders of magnitude under the today's.
Here are some view graphs explaining what quantum dots are about. More information here, including Java simulations. "