Columbia University

Technology Ventures

Single molecule junction diode for nanoscale integrated circuits

Technology #cu14278

Questions about this technology? Ask a Technology Manager

Download Printable PDF

Image Gallery
Latha Venkataraman
Managed By
Greg Maskel
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending 20160172610

There are continuous efforts to downsize integrated circuits used to build electronics with faster performance, lower power consumption, and more compact geometries. While molecular-scale electronics are sought for integrated circuit miniaturization, existing molecular electronics designs are not yet usable in practical circuits. The technology is a single molecule diode that can attain high rectification ratios at low input voltages. This diode design can be used to construct reliable electronic switches suitable for use in nanoscale integrated circuits.

Use of asymmetrically sized electrodes in a polar environment enables high performance rectification using molecular scale switches

Existing single molecule diode designs achieve rectification either by creating charge donor-acceptor molecular systems that function similar to macroscopic p-n semiconductor junctions or by creating asymmetry in the molecular contacts with the leads; these approaches have only been able to obtain low rectification ratios to date. By contrast, this technology employs leads with different areas to create asymmetry about a molecular junction. The leads are fabricated using a scanning tunneling microscope break-junction (STM-BJ) technique that retracts a gold contact from a substrate such that the tip is thinned, ruptured, and subsequently bridged with a single molecule that binds to gold. Using this design, rectification ratios approaching two orders of magnitude greater than those of existing designs have been successfully demonstrated at low voltages. This approach may also be used for molecular junctions created using carbon nanotubes (CNTs) or graphene electrodes.

Lead Inventor:

Latha Venkataraman, Ph.D.


  • Highly compact nanoscale integrated circuits
  • High performance electronics that employ carbon nanotubes or graphene


  • Can achieve high rectification ratios
  • Facilitates design of nanoscale integrated electronic circuits

Patent Information:

Patent Pending

Tech Ventures Reference: IR CU14278