Field regulation of single-molecule conductivity by a charged surface atom

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1038/nature03563
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TypeArticle
Journal titleNature
Nature
ISSN0028-0836
Volume435
Issue7042
Pages658661; # of pages: 4
AbstractElectrical transport through molecules has been much studied since it was proposed1 that individual molecules might behave like basic electronic devices, and intriguing single-molecule electronic effects have been demonstrated2, 3. But because transport properties are sensitive to structural variations on the atomic scale4, 5, 6, 7, further progress calls for detailed knowledge of how the functional properties of molecules depend on structural features. The characterization of two-terminal structures has become increasingly robust and reproducible8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and for some systems detailed structural characterization of molecules on electrodes or insulators is available13, 14, 15, 16, 17. Here we present scanning tunnelling microscopy observations and classical electrostatic and quantum mechanical modelling results that show that the electrostatic field emanating from a fixed point charge regulates the conductivity of nearby substrate-bound molecules. We find that the onset of molecular conduction is shifted by changing the charge state of a silicon surface atom, or by varying the spatial relationship between the molecule and that charged centre. Because the shifting results in conductivity changes of substantial magnitude, these effects are easily observed at room temperature.
Publication date
AffiliationNational Research Council Canada; NRC Institute for National Measurement Standards; National Institute for Nanotechnology
Peer reviewedNo
Identifier10084666
NPARC number12327070
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Record identifiera6e6d289-394a-458a-8ce6-afbfec76b0ca
Record created2009-09-10
Record modified2016-05-09
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