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Precision control of single-molecule electrical junctions

Nature Materials volume 5, pages 9951002 (2006) | Download Citation

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Abstract

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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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by EPSRC (Mechanisms of Single Molecule Conductance) (Liverpool), Basic Technology (Controlled Electron Transport) (Durham and Lancaster) and a Lancaster–EPSRC Portfolio Partnership and MCRTN Fundamentals of Nanoelectronics.

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Affiliations

  1. Centre for Nanoscale Science and Department of Chemistry, University of Liverpool, L69 7ZD, UK

    • Wolfgang Haiss
    • , David J. Schiffrin
    • , Simon J. Higgins
    •  & Richard J. Nichols
  2. Department of Chemistry and Centre for Molecular and Nanoscale Electronics, University of Durham, Durham DH1 3LE, UK

    • Changsheng Wang
    • , Andrei S. Batsanov
    •  & Martin R. Bryce
  3. Department of Physics, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YB, UK

    • Iain Grace
    •  & Colin J. Lambert

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Wolfgang Haiss.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nmat1781

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