Another nail in Schon’s research coffin

March 3, 2003 — Fired Bell Laboratories researcher Jan Hendrik Schon’s fall from grace continues months after investigators concluded his molecular electronics studies contained fabricated data. Two independent efforts to replicate Schon’s self-assembled monolayer field effect transistors failed to produce working devices, the journal Nano Letters reported, suggesting there is little to salvage from what was considered hallmark findings in 2001.

A team from IBM Watson Research Center in New York and Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands attempted to create field effect transistors made from nanometer-thick organic molecules placed between electrodes. In theory, a change in voltage would switch the conductive molecules between the “on” and “off” states found in today’s silicon transistors. The teams reported no significant success. The IBM group published its results on Dec. 19, 2002. The Delft report appeared about three weeks later.

In an appendix to the investigator’s report released on Sept. 25, 2002, Schon wrote he had made mistakes but differed with the report’s findings and conclusions.


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