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In most single- or few-molecule devices, the contact electrodes are simple ohmic resistors. Here we describe a new type of single-molecule device in which metal and semiconductor contact electrodes impart a function, namely, current rectification, which is then modified by a molecule bridging the gap. We study junctions with the structure Au STM tip/X/n-GaAs substrate, where "X" is either a simple alkanedithiol or a conjugated unit bearing thiol/methylthiol contacts, and we detect current jumps corresponding to the attachment and detachment of single molecules. From the magnitudes of the current jumps we can deduce values for the conductance decay constant with molecule length that agree well with values determined from Au/molecule/Au junctions. The ability to impart functionality to a single-molecule device through the properties of the contacts as well as through the properties of the molecule represents a significant extension of the single-molecule electronics "tool-box".
- gallium arsenide
- Schottky diode
- single molecule junctions
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- The Bristol Centre for Nanoscience and Quantum Information
- School of Physics - Professor of Physics
Person: Academic , Member