Article abstract


Nature Materials 5, 995 - 1002 (2006)
Published online: 26 November 2006 | doi:10.1038/nmat1781

Subject Categories: Molecular electronics | Characterisation and analytical techniques | Computation, modelling and theory

Precision control of single-molecule electrical junctions

Wolfgang Haiss1, Changsheng Wang2, Iain Grace3, Andrei S. Batsanov2, David J. Schiffrin1, Simon J. Higgins1, Martin R. Bryce2, Colin J. Lambert3 & Richard J. Nichols1


There is much discussion of molecules as components for future electronic devices. However, the contacts, the local environment and the temperature can all affect their electrical properties. This sensitivity, particularly at the single-molecule level, may limit the use of molecules as active electrical components, and therefore it is important to design and evaluate molecular junctions with a robust and stable electrical response over a wide range of junction configurations and temperatures. Here we report an approach to monitor the electrical properties of single-molecule junctions, which involves precise control of the contact spacing and tilt angle of the molecule. Comparison with ab initio transport calculations shows that the tilt-angle dependence of the electrical conductance is a sensitive spectroscopic probe, providing information about the position of the Fermi energy. It is also shown that the electrical properties of flexible molecules are dependent on temperature, whereas those of molecules designed for their rigidity are not.

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  1. Centre for Nanoscale Science and Department of Chemistry, University of Liverpool, L69 7ZD, UK
  2. Department of Chemistry and Centre for Molecular and Nanoscale Electronics, University of Durham, Durham DH1 3LE, UK
  3. Department of Physics, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YB, UK

Correspondence to: Wolfgang Haiss1 e-mail: w.h.haiss@liv.ac.uk