The design of compact, cheap and energy-saving electronic devices, capable of high performance and multifunctionality is of highest priority in modern nanotechnology. The size of circuit elements of electronic structures has been decreasing ever since the invention of the transistor and integrated circuit, closely following the prediction of Gordon Moore from 1965 (G. E. Moore, Electronics 38, 114 (1965)). Up-to-date industrial fabrication tools allow smallest structure sizes of electronic components on the order of 20 nanometers. Further decreasing this lower limit needs a completely new approach towards the fabrication of electronic structures. Two straightforward routes for the scaling of electronics have been developed: (1) the use of small objects, which are designed using non-conventional fabrication techniques, i.e. using the so-called “beyond-Moore” approach; and (2) the construction of single components, which can fulfill more complex tasks than traditional electronic circuit elements, an approach which is commonly called the “more-than-Moore” approach.
One of the ultimate goals of the IHRS NanoNet is to merge these two approaches by integrating nanosized objects, such as single molecules or metallic nanoparticles, into large interconnected networks, and thereby to fabricate novel nanodevices with tunable structural properties on demand to perform various complex tasks. The real integration of nanoscale electronic components into semiconductor circuits has not yet been achieved and would revolutionize the field of microelectronics and modern nanotechnology.
The research carried out within the IHRS NanoNet can be divided into three interlinked sub-topics: