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Electrical properties and mechanical stability of anchoring groups for single-molecule electronics

Electrical properties and mechanical stability of anchoring groups for single-molecule electronics

Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology 6: 1558-1567

We report on an experimental investigation of transport through single molecules, trapped between two gold nano-electrodes fabricated with the mechanically controlled break junction (MCBJ) technique. The four molecules studied share the same core structure, namely oligo(phenylene ethynylene) (OPE3), while having different aurophilic anchoring groups: thiol (SAc), methyl sulfide (SMe), pyridyl (Py) and amine (NH2). The focus of this paper is on the combined characterization of the electrical and mechanical properties determined by the anchoring groups. From conductance histograms we find that thiol anchored molecules provide the highest conductance; a single-level model fit to current-voltage characteristics suggests that SAc groups exhibit a higher electronic coupling to the electrodes, together with better level alignment than the other three groups. An analysis of the mechanical stability, recording the lifetime in a self-breaking method, shows that Py and SAc yield the most stable junctions while SMe form short-lived junctions. Density functional theory combined with non-equlibrium Green's function calculations help in elucidating the experimental findings.

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Accession: 057746274

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 26425407

DOI: 10.3762/bjnano.6.159

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