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"Contacting Molecules - Chemistry in Molecular Electronics" icon

Contacting Molecules - Chemistry in Molecular Electronics

The study of the basic electron transport mechanism through molecular systems has been made accessible by fabrication techniques that create metallic contacts to a small number of organic molecules. In my talk, I will discuss some of the groundbreaking discoveries such as the measurement of the conductance through a single molecule using a break junction, the demonstration of molecular diodes/transistors, and molecular-scale systems that show reversible switching behavior. Despite these exciting discoveries new theoretical and experimental studies show that molecular devices are extremely sensitive towards the nature and quality of the contacts. Questions such as: (i) what does the contact look like, (ii) is the contact changed by the electronic measurement, (iii) is the contact stable over time and as a function of temperature need to be answered. It has become necessary to spend time and research efforts on the characterization of metal-molecule contacts. In spite of great efforts, we still understand very little about the electron-transfer process through molecular junctions. Often, we cannot even draw the energy band diagram for the molecular junctions prepared and therefore are not able to distinguish between different electron transport mechanisms. In my talk, I will present new I(V,T) and IETS results obtained from a Au-S-C8H16-S-Au junction, which give insight into these questions. I will also discuss a new planar device structure developed at Yale and the utilization of electrochemistry as a quality monitor in molecular electronics.

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