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Electrical Readouts of Single and Few Molecule Systems in Metal-Molecule-Metal Device Structures

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Electrical conduction through molecular junctions are measured in different local environments through two test beds that are ideal for single/few molecule and molecular monolayer systems. A technique has been developed to realize Au films with ∼1.5 Å surface roughness comparable to the best available techniques and suitable for formation of patterned device structures. The technique utilizes room temperature e-beam evaporated Au films over oxidized Si substrates silanized with (3-mercaptopropyl)trimethoxysilane (MPTMS). The lateral (single/few molecule) and vertical (many molecules) device structures are both enabled by the process for realizing ultraflat Au layer. Lateral metal-molecule-metal (M-M-M) device structures are fabricated by forming pairs of Au electrodes with nanometer separation (nano-gap) through an electromigration-induced break-junction (EIBJ) technique at room temperature and conductivity measurements are carried out for dithiol functionalized single molecules. We have used the flat Au layer (using the current technique) as the bottom contact in vertical M-M-M device structures. Here, molecular self-assembly are formed on the Au surface, and patterned (20 × 20 m2) top Au contacts were successfully transferred on to the device using a stamping technique (where the Au is deposited on a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) pad and following a physical contact on the thiolated Au layer). The single molecular property of XYL, a highly conductive molecule and many molecular property of HS-C9-SH, an insulating molecule in its molecular monolayer form are measured. Observation of enhanced conduction following molecular deposition, and comparison of conductance–voltage characteristics to those predicted theoretically, confirms the success of trapping single/few molecules in the nano-gap. The observed ∼ 102 less conductance through the molecular monolayer of HS-C9-SH compared to the estimation of a linear sum of single molecule conductances over large area indicate that either all the molecules are not in physical contact with the top stamping electrode or electrode-molecule coupling has a less broadening in presence of it own environment or both.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2007-06-01

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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