A collaboration between Spanish research institutes—led by the nanoGUNE Cooperative Research Center (CIC)—has achieved a breakthrough in so-called molecular electronics by devising a way to connect magnetic porphyrin molecules to graphene nanoribbons. These connections may be an example of how graphene could enable the potential of molecular electronics.
Porphyrin is an important molecule that is responsible for making photosynthesis possible in plants and transporting oxygen in the blood. Recently, researchers have been experimenting with "magnetic porphyrins" and discovered that they can form the basis of spintronic devices. Spintronics involves manipulating the spin of electrons and it is this spin that is responsible for magnetism: When a majority of electrons in a material have their spins pointing in the same direction, the material is magnetized. If you can move all the spins up or down and can read that direction, you can create the foundation of the “0” and “1” of digital logic.