This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site you agree to our use of cookies. To find out more, see our Privacy and Cookies policy.
Skip to the content

Share this

Free weekly newswire

Sign up to receive all our latest news direct to your inbox.

Physics on film

100 Second Science Your scientific questions answered simply by specialists in less than 100 seconds.

Watch now

Bright Recruits

At all stages of your career – whether you're an undergraduate, graduate, researcher or industry professional – can help find the job for you.

Find your perfect job

Physics connect

Are you looking for a supplier? Physics Connect lists thousands of scientific companies, businesses, non-profit organizations, institutions and experts worldwide.

Start your search today


Tiny antennas and transistors


By Hamish Johnston at the APS March Meeting in Dallas

It’s the second day of the March Meeting and I’ve just done three video interviews, which should start appearing on in April.

I also managed to make it to a few press conferences, including one on how to make extremely small transistors and antennas.

Above you can see Mark Reed of Yale University who was the first to create a transistor from a single molecule. Reed and colleagues place an organic molecule between two electrodes, which function as the source and drain in a field-effect transistor. The molecule is suspended above a third electrode, which acts as the gate.

You might think that Reed wants to make these tiny resistors to ensure that Moore’s law – the relentless miniaturization of computer chips – continues right down to the molecular level. However, he points out that the biggest threat to Moore’s law today is how to get rid of all the heat generated by a dense clump of tiny transistors. The molecular transistor doesn’t help much with that, and Reed is more interested in studying the fundamental physics of these quantum devices.

Also speaking at the press conference was Niek van Hulst of the Institute of Photonics Science in Barcelona. Van Hulst and colleagues have made tiny antennas that can broadcast and receive visible light.

Such antennas could be put very close to a molecule of interest for example, and capture all the light emitted by the molecule. Conversely it could also be used to direct intense light at just one molecule. Both of these abilities could prove very useful for molecular spectroscopy.

The team has also managed to put a tiny antenna on a scanning tunnelling microscope (STM) tip. Since the antenna is much smaller than the wavelength of the light it emits, such a set-up could be used to image molecules with resolutions much smaller than the wavelength of the light – beating the diffraction limit.

The most beautiful application though, was using an array of antennas coupled to quantum dots, which broadcast the flickering light of quantum noise within the dots.

This entry was posted in APS March Meeting 2011. Bookmark the permalink.
View all posts by this author  | View this author's profile

Comments are closed.


  • Comments should be relevant to the article and not be used to promote your own work, products or services.
  • Please keep your comments brief (we recommend a maximum of 250 words).
  • We reserve the right to remove excessively long, inappropriate or offensive entries.

Show/hide formatting guidelines

Tag Description Example Output
<a> Hyperlink <a href="">google</a> google
<abbr> Abbreviation <abbr title="World Health Organisation" >WHO</abbr> WHO
<acronym> Acronym <acronym title="as soon as possible">ASAP</acronym> ASAP
<b> Bold <b>Some text</b> Some text
<blockquote> Quoted from another source <blockquote cite="">IOP</blockquote>
<cite> Cite <cite>Diagram 1</cite> Diagram 1
<del> Deleted text From this line<del datetime="2012-12-17"> this text was deleted</del> From this line this text was deleted
<em> Emphasized text In this line<em> this text was emphasised</em> In this line this text was emphasised
<i> Italic <i>Some text</i> Some text
<q> Quotation WWF goal is to build a future <q cite="">
where people live in harmony with nature and animals</q>
WWF goal is to build a future
where people live in harmony with nature and animals
<strike> Strike text <strike>Some text</strike> Some text
<strong> Stronger emphasis of text <strong>Some text</strong> Some text