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Molecularly inherent voltage-controlled conductance switching


Molecular electronics has been proposed as a pathway for high-density nanoelectronic devices. This pathway involves the development of a molecular memory device based on reversible switching of a molecule between two conducting states in response to a trigger, such as an applied voltage. Here we demonstrate that voltage-triggered switching is indeed a molecular phenomenon by carrying out studies on the same molecule using three different experimental configurations—scanning tunnelling microscopy, crossed-wire junction, and magnetic-bead junction. We also demonstrate that voltage-triggered switching is distinctly different from stochastic switching, essentially a transient (time-dependent) phenomenon that is independent of the applied voltage.

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Figure 1: Schematics for STM experiments.
Figure 2: I/V measurements on BPDN.
Figure 3: Consistent two-state behaviour in three different test-beds.
Figure 4: STM images of molecules inserted into an undecanethiol matrix.
Figure 5: Stochastic switching in BPDN.


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Research support by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Office of Naval Research is gratefully acknowledged. We thank S. K. Pollack and J. Lazorcik for helpful discussions. J.C.Y. and D.P.L. thank the National Research Council for fellowship support.

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Correspondence to Amy Szuchmacher Blum.

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Blum, A., Kushmerick, J., Long, D. et al. Molecularly inherent voltage-controlled conductance switching. Nature Mater 4, 167–172 (2005).

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