Science cover showing hexabenzocoronene molecule

Science cover showing a hexabenzocoronene molecule

One of my many exciting responsibilities is for Europe’s Future and Emerging Technologies Programme, the billion-euro part of our research programme looking at the big technologies that might shape the coming decades.  Many of these projects take place out of the public eye – so it’s always satisfying when they get a little more attention. And this week, EU-funded research has indeed hit the headlines – appearing on the cover of Science Magazine!

This story is a scientific first: as researchers in SwitzerlandFrance and Spain, working under European projects ARTISTHERODOT and CEMAS,  have succeeded in taking a “picture” of the individual bonds between carbon atoms.

Of course it’s not just about taking nice pictures. These images can “see” changes in distance of less than one hundredth of the diameter of an atom, and that can give us a huge leap forward in understanding what’s going on inside molecules.

That sounds pretty amazing in itself: but indeed it could hold the key to the future of computing, through the emerging science of molecular electronics. Currently, most electronics relies on silicon technology; but some years ago, another EU project showed a single molecule could replace large numbers of transistors, and effectively carry out a complex computation. This new discovery takes us much further in learning how to integrate these molecules into computer systems.

So well done to all those involved in this discovery!


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Neelie Kroes Blog (Europa)

Neelie Kroes is Vice President of the European Commission, responsible for the Digital Agenda for Europe

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