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Nano Lett. 2013;13(12):6233-7. doi: 10.1021/nl403698m. Epub 2013 Nov 27.

Tuning rectification in single-molecular diodes.

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Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics, Columbia University , New York, New York 10027, United States.


We demonstrate a new method of achieving rectification in single molecule devices using the high-bias properties of gold-carbon bonds. Our design for molecular rectifiers uses a symmetric, conjugated molecular backbone with a single methylsulfide group linking one end to a gold electrode and a covalent gold-carbon bond at the other end. The gold-carbon bond results in a hybrid gold-molecule "gateway" state pinned close to the Fermi level of one electrode. Through nonequilibrium transport calculations, we show that the energy of this state shifts drastically with applied bias, resulting in rectification at surprisingly low voltages. We use this concept to design and synthesize a family of diodes and demonstrate through single-molecule current-voltage measurements that the rectification ratio can be predictably and efficiently tuned. This result constitutes the first experimental demonstration of a rationally tunable system of single-molecule rectifiers. More generally, the results demonstrate that the high-bias properties of "gateway" states can be used to provide additional functionality to molecular electronic systems.

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