Can you make your mobile smaller?

Montse López and Pau Gorostiza, PhD student and group leader in IBEC’s Nanoprobes and Nanoswitches group, have participated in the development of “Can you make your mobile smaller?”, a virtual experiment in collaboration with IrsiCaixa’s Unit for Public Engagement on Health Research.

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Transistors are electronic components that are present in practically all electronic equipment that we use in our daily lives, such as mobile phones, radios, TVs and computers. Thanks to this virtual experiment, which has been developed as part of the EU-funded ‘Nanopinion’ project, anyone can enter a laboratory and ‘perform’ current research in the field of transistors.

The experiment also offers information on how current transistors work, and demonstrates molecular transistors as one approach to make them smaller. This idea is based on substituting silicon, the common element used as a transistor’s substrate, with a single molecule that could be reduced or oxidized, gaining or losing electrons.

In addition, participants will learn how a Scanning Tunneling Microscope works to make their own molecular transistor, in the same way that nanotechnologists do it in their labs. This resource not only aims to give people the chance to learn about the topic, but also offers them the possibility to imagine what it’s like to work in a lab, and so contributes to bridging the gap between research and education.

“We researchers get used to working every day on something without considering how strange it may seem to an outsider,” comments Montse. “The most interesting part of the project was having to look at our laboratory work from a different perspective.”


Click on the image to start the experiment!