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Kondo resonance in a single-molecule transistor

Abstract

When an individual molecule1, nanocrystal2,3,4, nanotube5,6 or lithographically defined quantum dot7 is attached to metallic electrodes via tunnel barriers, electron transport is dominated by single-electron charging and energy-level quantization8. As the coupling to the electrodes increases, higher-order tunnelling and correlated electron motion give rise to new phenomena9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19, including the Kondo resonance10,11,12,13,14,15,16. To date, all of the studies of Kondo phenomena in quantum dots have been performed on systems where precise control over the spin degrees of freedom is difficult. Molecules incorporating transition-metal atoms provide powerful new systems in this regard, because the spin and orbital degrees of freedom can be controlled through well-defined chemistry20,21. Here we report the observation of the Kondo effect in single-molecule transistors, where an individual divanadium molecule20 serves as a spin impurity. We find that the Kondo resonance can be tuned reversibly using the gate voltage to alter the charge and spin state of the molecule. The resonance persists at temperatures up to 30 K and when the energy separation between the molecular state and the Fermi level of the metal exceeds 100 meV.

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Figure 1: Fabrication of single-molecule transistors incorporating individual divanadium molecules.
Figure 2: Plots of differential conductance (∂I/∂V) as a function of bias voltage (V) and gate voltage (Vg) obtained from two different single-V2 transistors D1 (a) and D2 (b).
Figure 3: Transport data obtained from single-V2 transistors in an applied magnetic field (B).
Figure 4: Temperature-dependent transport data from device D3.

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Acknowledgements

We thank C. Lieber, B. Halperin and D. R. Reichman for discussions. This work was supported by NSF, DARPA, the Dreyfus Foundation, the Packard Foundation, the Research Corporation, and Harvard University (H.P.) and NSF (J.R.L.). M.B. is partially supported by the Department of Physics, Harvard University.

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Correspondence to Hongkun Park.

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Liang, W., Shores, M., Bockrath, M. et al. Kondo resonance in a single-molecule transistor. Nature 417, 725–729 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature00790

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