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Information Processing Schemes Based on Monolayer Protected Metallic Nanoclusters

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Nanostructures are potentially useful as building blocks to complement future electronics because of their high versatility and packing densities. The fabrication and characterization of particular nanostructures and the use of new theoretical tools to describe their properties are receiving much attention. However, the integration of these individual systems into general schemes that could perform simple tasks is also necessary because modern electronics operation relies on the concerted action of many basic units. We review here new conceptual schemes that can allow information processing with ligand or monolayer protected metallic nanoclusters (MPCs) on the basis of the experimentally demonstrated and theoretically described electrical characteristics of these nanostructures. In particular, we make use of the tunnelling current through a metallic nanocluster attached to the electrodes by ligands. The nanostructure is described as a single electron transistor (SET) that can be gated by an external potential. This fact permits exploiting information processing schemes in approximately defined arrays of MPCs. These schemes include: (i) binary, multivalued, and reversible logic gates; (ii) an associative memory and a synchronization circuit; and (iii) two signal processing nanodevices based on parallel arrays of MPCs and nanoswitches. In each case, the practical operation of the nanodevice is based on the SET properties of MPCs reported experimentally. We examine also some of the practical problems that should be addressed in future experimental realizations: the stochastic nature of the electron tunnelling, the relatively low operation temperatures, and the limited reliability caused by the weak signals involved and the nanostructure variability. The perspectives to solve these problems are based on the potentially high degree of scalability of the nanostructures.
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Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: 01 September 2011

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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