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Chimia (Aarau). 2010;64(6):376-82.

Molecular electronics--resonant transport through single molecules.

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IBM Research, Zurich, Science & Technology Department, Säumerstrasse 4.


The mechanically controllable break-junction technique (MCBJ) enables us to investigate charge transport through an individually contacted and addressed molecule in ultra-high vacuum (UHV) environment at variable temperature ranging from room temperature down to 4 K. Using a statistical measurement and analysis approach, we acquire current-voltage (I-V) characteristics during the repeated formation, manipulation, and breaking of a molecular junction. At low temperatures, voltages accessing the first molecular orbitals in resonance can be applied, providing spectroscopic information about the junction's energy landscape, in particular about the molecular level alignment in respect to the Fermi energy of the electrodes. Thereby, we can investigate the non-linear transport properties of various types of functional molecules and explore their potential use as functional building blocks for future nano-electronics. An example will be given by the reversible and controllable switching between two distinct conductive states of a single molecule. As a proof-of-principle for functional molecular devices, a single-molecule memory element will be demonstrated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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