Letter

Nature 445, 414-417 (25 January 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature05462; Received 18 July 2006; Accepted 16 November 2006

A 160-kilobit molecular electronic memory patterned at 1011 bits per square centimetre

Jonathan E. Green1,4, Jang Wook Choi1,4, Akram Boukai1, Yuri Bunimovich1, Ezekiel Johnston-Halperin1,3, Erica DeIonno1, Yi Luo1,3, Bonnie A. Sheriff1, Ke Xu1, Young Shik Shin1, Hsian-Rong Tseng2,3, J. Fraser Stoddart2 & James R. Heath1

  1. Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering and the Kavli Nanoscience Institute, Caltech, Pasadena, California 91125, USA
  2. California NanoSystems Institute and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California at Los Angeles, 405 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90095-1569, USA
  3. Present addresses: Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, USA (Y.L.); Crump Institute for Molecular Imaging, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA (H.-R.T.); Department of Physics, Ohio State University, 191 W. Woodruff Ave. Columbus, OH 43210-1117 (E. J.-H.)
  4. These authors contributed equally to this work.

Correspondence to: James R. Heath1 Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to J.R.H. (Email: heath@caltech.edu).

The primary metric for gauging progress in the various semiconductor integrated circuit technologies is the spacing, or pitch, between the most closely spaced wires within a dynamic random access memory (DRAM) circuit1. Modern DRAM circuits have 140 nm pitch wires and a memory cell size of 0.0408 mum2. Improving integrated circuit technology will require that these dimensions decrease over time. However, at present a large fraction of the patterning and materials requirements that we expect to need for the construction of new integrated circuit technologies in 2013 have 'no known solution'1. Promising ingredients for advances in integrated circuit technology are nanowires2, molecular electronics3 and defect-tolerant architectures4, as demonstrated by reports of single devices5, 6, 7 and small circuits8, 9. Methods of extending these approaches to large-scale, high-density circuitry are largely undeveloped. Here we describe a 160,000-bit molecular electronic memory circuit, fabricated at a density of 1011 bits cm-2 (pitch 33 nm; memory cell size 0.0011 mum2), that is, roughly analogous to the dimensions of a DRAM circuit1 projected to be available by 2020. A monolayer of bistable, [2]rotaxane molecules10 served as the data storage elements. Although the circuit has large numbers of defects, those defects could be readily identified through electronic testing and isolated using software coding. The working bits were then configured to form a fully functional random access memory circuit for storing and retrieving information.

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