Molecule cascades

A. J. Heinrich, C. P. Lutz, J. A. Gupta, D. M. Eigler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

426 Scopus citations


Carbon monoxide molecules were arranged in atomically precise configurations, which we call "molecule cascades," where the motion of one molecule causes the subsequent motion of another, and so on in a cascade of motion similar to a row of toppling dominoes. Isotopically pure cascades were assembled on a copper (111) surface with a low-temperature scanning tunneling microscope. The hopping rate of carbon monoxide molecules in cascades was found to be independent of temperature below 6 kelvin and to exhibit a pronounced isotope effect, hallmarks of a quantum tunneling process. At higher temperatures, we observed a thermally activated hopping rate with an anomalously low Arrhenius prefactor that we interpret as tunneling from excited vibrational states. We present a cascade-based computation scheme that has all of the devices and interconnects required for the one-time computation of an arbitrary logic function. Logic gates and other devices were implemented by engineered arrangements of molecules at the intersections of cascades. We demonstrate a three-input sorter that uses several AND gates and OR gates, as well as the crossover and fan-out units needed to connect them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1381-1387
Number of pages7
Issue number5597
StatePublished - 15 Nov 2002


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