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Towards molecular electronics with large-area molecular junctions

Naturevolume 441pages6972 (2006) | Download Citation

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Abstract

Electronic transport through single molecules has been studied extensively by academic1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 and industrial9,10 research groups. Discrete tunnel junctions, or molecular diodes, have been reported using scanning probes11,12, break junctions13,14, metallic crossbars6 and nanopores8,15. For technological applications, molecular tunnel junctions must be reliable, stable and reproducible. The conductance per molecule, however, typically varies by many orders of magnitude5. Self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) may offer a promising route to the fabrication of reliable devices, and charge transport through SAMs of alkanethiols within nanopores is well understood, with non-resonant tunnelling dominating the transport mechanism8. Unfortunately, electrical shorts in SAMs are often formed upon vapour deposition of the top electrode16,17,18, which limits the diameter of the nanopore diodes to about 45 nm. Here we demonstrate a method to manufacture molecular junctions with diameters up to 100 µm with high yields (> 95 per cent). The junctions show excellent stability and reproducibility, and the conductance per unit area is similar to that obtained for benchmark nanopore diodes. Our technique involves processing the molecular junctions in the holes of a lithographically patterned photoresist, and then inserting a conducting polymer interlayer between the SAM and the metal top electrode. This simple approach is potentially low-cost and could pave the way for practical molecular electronics.

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Acknowledgements

We thank M. Mulder, T. C. T. Geuns, E. A. Meulenkamp, E. Cantatore and S. Bakker for their assistance, and the Materials Science CentrePlus for financial support.

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Affiliations

  1. Materials Science Centre, University of Groningen, Nijenborgh 4, NL-9747 AG, Groningen, The Netherlands

    • Hylke B. Akkerman
    • , Paul W. M. Blom
    •  & Bert de Boer
  2. Philips Research Laboratories, High Tech Campus 4, NL-5656 AA, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

    • Dago M. de Leeuw

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Competing interests

Reprints and permissions information is available at npg.nature.com/reprintsandpermissions. The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Bert de Boer.

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    This file contains the Supplementary Methods and Supplementary Figures. (PDF 242 kb)

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https://doi.org/10.1038/nature04699

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