ATHENS, Ohio, March 29 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists say they have created the world's smallest superconductor -- a sheet of four pairs of molecules less than one nanometer wide.
The Ohio University-led study is said to provide the first evidence that nanoscale molecular superconducting wires can be fabricated and used for nanoscale electronic devices and energy applications.
"Researchers have said that it's almost impossible to make nanoscale interconnects using metallic conductors because the resistance increases as the size of wire becomes smaller," said Associate Professor Saw-Wai Hla of the university's Nanoscale and Quantum Phenomena Institute.
Hla, who led the study, said superconducting materials have an electrical resistance of zero, so they can carry large electrical currents without power dissipation or heat generation. Superconductivity was, until recently, considered a macroscopic phenomenon. Hla said the current findings, however, suggest it exists at the molecular scale, which opens up a novel route for studying the phenomenon,
The study also provided evidence that superconducting organic salts can grow on a substrate material. "This is also vital if one wants to fabricate nanoscale electronic circuits using organic molecules," Hla said.
The research that included Kandal Clark, Sajida Khan, Abdou Hassanien, Hisashi Tanaka and Kai-Felix Braun appears in the early online edition of the journal Nature Nanotechnology.