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J Am Chem Soc. 2010 Jan 20;132(2):756-64. doi: 10.1021/ja9084012.

Superior contact for single-molecule conductance: electronic coupling of thiolate and isothiocyanate on Pt, Pd, and Au.

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1
Department of Chemistry, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan 10617.

Abstract

One of the critical issues for the realization of molecular electronics is the development of ideal molecule-electrode contacts that render efficient charge transportation and thus attenuate the unwanted voltage drop and power loss. The conductance at the single-molecule level has long been expected to be correlated strongly with the electrode materials. However, other than gold, systematic studies of a homologous series of molecules to extract the headgroup-metal contact conductance (G(n=0)) have not been reported. Carefully examined herein are the conductances of alkanedithiols anchored onto electrode materials of Au and Pt as well as the conductances of alkanediisothiocyanates on Au, Pd, and Pt by utilizing the method of STM-BJ (scanning tunneling microscopy break junction). In comparison with Au substrate, Pd and Pt are group 10 elements with stronger d-orbital characteristics, and larger local density of states near the Fermi level. The model compounds, SCN(CH(2))(n)NCS (n = 4, 6, and 8), are studied because the isothiocyanate (-NCS) headgroup is a versatile ligand for organometallics, an emerging class of molecular wires, and can bind to substrates of noble metals to complete a metal-molecule-metal configuration for external I-V measurements. Also studied include alkanedithiols, one of the most scrutinized systems in the field of single-molecule conductance. The results show that the conductance for single molecules bridged between a pair of Pt electrodes is about 3.5-fold superior to those between Au electrodes. On all electrode materials, observed are two sets of conductance values, with the smaller set being 1 order of magnitude less conductive. These findings are ascribed to the degree of electronic coupling between the headgroup and the electrode.

PMID:
20020686
DOI:
10.1021/ja9084012

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