Researchers develop world’s smallest nanoscale diode

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Researchers have developed the world’s smallest nanoscale diode or molecular rectifier that could impact the development of molecular electronic devices in future. The breakthrough was achieved by the researchers from the University of Georgia and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU). It has size of single molecule and facilitates electronic current flow in one direction. The study was published in the journal Nature Chemistry. 

How it was developed? 

Researchers took a single DNA molecule constructed from 11 base pairs and connected it to an electronic circuit only a few nanometres in size. When they measured the current through the molecule, it did not show any special behaviour. However, when layers of a molecule called "coralyne," were inserted (or intercalated) between layers of DNA, the behaviour of the circuit changed drastically. The current jumped to 15 times larger negative vs positive voltages - a necessary feature for a nano diode. 

What is diode? 

Diode is a two-terminal electronic component that allow current to flow in one direction in an electric circuit, while blocking current in the opposite direction.It has low (ideally zero) resistance to the flow of current in one direction, and high (ideally infinite) resistance in the other. A semiconductor diode is the most common type of diode in modern electronics circuit design. The unidirectional behavior of diode is called rectification, and is used to convert alternating current to direct current, inluding extraction of modulation from radio signals in radio receivers. 

Application of diode : 

♦ Zener diodes : Used to regulate voltage 
♦ Avalanche diodes : Protects circuits from high voltage surges 
 Varactor diodes : Electronically tune radio and TV receivers
♦ Light-emitting diodes (LED) : Produces light

Significance:  These findings may lead to advanced, smaller and more powerful electronic devices. It can pave path for the design and construction of nanoscale electronic elements that are at least 1,000 times smaller than current components.

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