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) circuit. Modern DRAM circuits have 140 nm pitch wires and a memory cell size of 0.0408 μm2. 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'. Promising ingredients for advances in integrated circuit technology are nanowires, molecular electronics and defect-tolerant architectures, as demonstrated by reports of single devices and small circuits. 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 μm2), that is, roughly analogous to the dimensions of a DRAM circuit projected to be available by 2020. A monolayer of bistable, rotaxane molecules 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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas