SFB 767 - TP C02 "Controlling the electronic transport through molecular systems


In this project we investigate mesoscopic systems the electronic transport of which can be controlled by irradiation with light pulses. We are searching for such systems in which the current can be switched on and off reproducibly at variance to previous work in which only one-way switching has been achieved. Such molecular switches may be used as light detectors with high spatial resolution. One long-term goal of the project is to investigate coherent control of individual molecules by studying their electronic transport properties. The second goal is to develop optically active groups and linkers.

  • SFB 767 Kontrollierte Nanosysteme
  • FB Physik
    Hayakawa, Ryoma; Karimi, Mohammad Amin; Wolf, Jannic; Huhn, Thomas; Zöllner, Martin Sebastian; Herrmann, Carmen; Scheer, Elke (2016): Large Magnetoresistance in Single-Radical Molecular Junctions Nano Letters ; 16 (2016), 8. - S. 4960-4967. - ISSN 1530-6984. - eISSN 1530-6992

Large Magnetoresistance in Single-Radical Molecular Junctions

Organic radicals are promising building blocks for molecular spintronics. Little is known about the role of unpaired electrons for electron transport at the single-molecule level. Here, we examine the impact of magnetic fields on electron transport in single oligo(p-phenyleneethynylene) (OPE)-based radical molecular junctions, which are formed with a mechanically controllable break-junction technique at a low temperature of 4.2 K. Surprisingly huge positive magnetoresistances (MRs) of 16 to 287% are visible for a magnetic field of 4 T, and the values are at least 1 order of magnitude larger than those of the analogous pristine OPE (2-4%). Rigorous analysis of the MR and of current-voltage and inelastic electron-tunneling spectroscopy measurements reveal an effective reduction of the electronic coupling between the current-carrying molecular orbital and the electrodes with increasing magnetic field. We suggest that the large MR for the single-radical molecular junctions might be ascribed to a loss of phase coherence of the charge carriers induced by the magnetic field. Although further investigations are required to reveal the mechanism underlying the strong MR, our findings provide a potential approach for tuning charge transport in metal-molecule junctions with organic radicals.

Origin (projects)

    Ofarim, Ayelet; Kopp, Bastian; Möller, Thomas B.; Martin, León; Boneberg, Johannes; Leiderer, Paul; Scheer, Elke (2016): Thermo-voltage measurements of atomic contacts at low temperature Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology ; 7 (2016). - S. 767-775. - eISSN 2190-4286

Thermo-voltage measurements of atomic contacts at low temperature

We report the development of a novel method to determine the thermopower of atomic-sized gold contacts at low temperature. For these measurements a mechanically controllable break junction (MCBJ) system is used and a laser source generates a temperature difference of a few kelvins across the junction to create a thermo-voltage. Since the temperature difference enters directly into the Seebeck coefficient S = -ΔV/ΔT, the determination of the temperature plays an important role. We present a method for the determination of the temperature difference using a combination of a finite element simulation, which reveals the temperature distribution of the sample, and the measurement of the resistance change due to laser heating of sensor leads on both sides next to the junction. Our results for the measured thermopower are in agreement with recent reports in the literature.

Origin (projects)

    Luka-Guth, Katharina; Hambsch, Sebastian; Bloch, Andreas; Ehrenreich, Philipp; Briechle, Bernd Michael; Kilibarda, Filip; Sendler, Torsten; Sysoiev, Dmytro; Huhn, Thomas; Erbe, Artur; Scheer, Elke (2016): Role of solvents in the electronic transport properties of single-molecule junctions Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology ; 7 (2016). - S. 1055-1067. - eISSN 2190-4286

Role of solvents in the electronic transport properties of single-molecule junctions

We report on an experimental study of the charge transport through tunnel gaps formed by adjustable gold electrodes immersed into different solvents that are commonly used in the field of molecular electronics (ethanol, toluene, mesitylene, 1,2,4-trichlorobenzene, isopropanol, toluene/tetrahydrofuran mixtures) for the study of single-molecule contacts of functional molecules. We present measurements of the conductance as a function of gap width, conductance histograms as well as current–voltage characteristics of narrow gaps and discuss them in terms of the Simmons model, which is the standard model for describing transport via tunnel barriers, and the resonant single-level model, often applied to single-molecule junctions. One of our conclusions is that stable junctions may form from solvents as well and that both conductance–distance traces and current–voltage characteristics have to be studied to distinguish between contacts of solvent molecules and of molecules under study.

Origin (projects)

Funding sources
Name Project no. Description Period
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft532/08no information
Further information
Period: 01.01.2008 – 31.12.2019
Link: Project homepage