Researchers who developed the first molecular transistor have revealed that they can manipulate the device to control the current passing through it.
By attaching gold contacts to a benzene molecule, scientists from Yale University in the US and Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea created an item that behaved like a silicon transistor.
Mark Reed, the Harold Hodginkson professor of engineering and applied science at Yale, described how the team were able to adjust the current using the voltage they put through it.
He explained: "It's like rolling a ball up and over a hill, where the ball represents electrical current and the height of the hill represents the molecule's different energy states."
Mr Reed described the development as the fulfilment of a "decade-long quest", in showing that molecules could act as transistors.
A recent study at the University of California, Los Angeles and Purdue University predicted that nanowires will be vital in the development of the next generation of transistors.