Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Stretching electrical conductance to the limit

Nongjan (NJ) Tao, director of the Center for Bioelectronics and Biosensors, Biodesign Institute.
Photo by: The Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University
Nongjan (NJ) Tao, director of the Center for Bioelectronics and Biosensors, Biodesign Institute.

Photo by: The Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University

Abstract:
Individual molecules have been used to create electrical components like resistors, transistors and diodes that mimic the properties of familiar semiconductors. But according to Nongjian (NJ) Tao, a researcher at the Biodesign Institute at ASU, unique properties inherent in single molecules also may allow clever designers to produce novel devices whose behavior falls outside the performance observed in conventional electronics.

Stretching electrical conductance to the limit

Tempe, AZ | Posted on December 6th, 2011

In research appearing in today's issue of Nature Nanotechnology, Tao describes a method for mechanically controlling the geometry of a single molecule, situated in a junction between a pair of gold electrodes that form a simple circuit. The manipulations produced over tenfold increase in conductivity.

The unusual, often non-intuitive characteristics of single molecules may eventually be introduced into a broad range of microelectronics, suitable for applications including biological and chemical sensing electronic and mechanical devices.

Delicate molecular manipulations requiring patience and finesse are routine for Tao, whose research at Biodesign's Center for Bioelectronics and Biosensors has included work on molecular diodes, graphene behavior and molecular imaging techniques. Nevertheless, he was surprised at the outcome described in the current paper: "If you have a molecule attached to electrodes, it can stretch like a rubber band," he says. "If it gets longer, most people tend to think that the conductivity will decrease. A longer wire is less conductive than a shorter wire."

Indeed, diminishing conductivity through a molecule is commonly observed when the distance between the electrodes attached to its surface is increased and the molecule becomes elongated. But according to Tao, if you stretch the molecule enough, something unexpected happens: the conductance goes up - by a huge amount. "We see at least 10 times greater conductivity, simply by pulling the molecule."

As Tao explains, the intriguing result is a byproduct of the laws of quantum mechanics, which dictate the behavior of matter at the tiniest scales: "The conductivity of a single molecule is not simply inversely proportional to length. It depends on the energy level alignment."

In the metal leads of the electrodes, electrons can move about freely but when they come to an interface - in this case, a molecule that sits in the junction between electrodes - they have to overcome an energy barrier. The height of this energy barrier is critical to how readily electrons can pass through the molecule. By applying a mechanical force to the molecule, the barrier is lowered, improving conductance.

"Theoretically, people have thought of this as a possibility, but this is a demonstration that it really happens," Tao says. "If you stretch the molecule and geometrically increase the length, it energetically lowers the barrier so electrons can easily go through. If you think in optical terms, it becomes more transparent to electrons."

The reason for this has to do with a property known as force-induced resonant tunneling. This occurs when the molecular energy moves closer to the Fermi level of the electrodes - that is, toward the region of optimal conductance. (See figure 1) Thus, as the molecule is stretched, it causes a decrease in the tunneling energy barrier.

For the experiments, Tao's group used 1,4'-Benzenedithiol, the most widely studied entity for molecular electronics. Further experiments demonstrated that the transport of electrons through the molecule underwent a corresponding decrease as the distance between the electrodes was reduced, causing the molecule's geometry to shift from a stretched condition to a relaxed or squeezed state. "We have to do this thousands of times to be sure the effect is robust and reproducible."

In addition to the discovery's practical importance, the new data show close agreement with theoretical models of molecular conductance, which had often been at variance with experimental values, by orders of magnitude.

Tao stresses that single molecules are compelling candidates for a new types of electronic devices, precisely because they can exhibit very different properties from those observed in conventional semiconductors.

Microelectromechanical systems or MEMS are just one domain where the versatile properties of single molecules are likely to make their mark. These diminutive creations represent a $40 billion a year industry and include such innovations as optical switches, gyroscopes for cars, lab-on-chip biomedical applications and microelectronics for mobile devices.

"In the future, when people design devices using molecules, they will have a new toolbox they can use."

In addition to Tao's position as director of Biodesign's Center for Bioelectronics and Biosensors, he holds a professorship in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Richard Harth

Copyright © Arizona State University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Northwestern researchers achieve unprecedented control of polymer grids: Materials could find applications in water purification, solar energy storage, body armor June 22nd, 2018

Nanobiotix Publishes Positive Phase 2/3 Data For Nanomedicine in Soft Tissue Cancer (Webcast June 22) June 22nd, 2018

Alzheimer's breakthrough: Brain metals that may drive disease progression revealed: In brains affected by Alzheimer's, researchers identify chemically reduced iron species, with mineral forms including a magnetic iron oxide June 22nd, 2018

Collaboration yields discovery of 12-sided silica cages June 20th, 2018

MEMS

Executives Explore Key Megatrends and Innovations in MEMS, Sensors, Imaging Tech at SEMI-MSIG European Summits: Speakers to share developments in smart automotive, smart cities, smart industrial, biomedical, consumer and IoT, September 19-21, 2018 in Grenoble, France June 19th, 2018

HTA to Present European Strategy for Competitive Micro- and Nanotechnologies & Smart Systems: Special Event in Brussels on April 24 Gathers Research Institutes’ CEOs, European Commissioners and Key European Industrials April 17th, 2018

New approach to measuring stickiness could aid micro-device design March 8th, 2018

MEMS chips get metatlenses: Combining metasurface lenses with MEMS technology could add high-speed scanning and enhance focusing capability of optical systems February 21st, 2018

Chip Technology

Carbon nanotube optics poised to provide pathway to optical-based quantum cryptography and quantum computing: Researchers are exploring enhanced potential of carbon nanotubes for unique applications June 18th, 2018

Making quantum puddles: Physicists discover how to create the thinnest liquid films ever June 13th, 2018

Leti Presenting Strategic Vision and Hosting a Workshop at SEMICON West: “From Electrons to Photons” Leti Workshop and CEO Media Briefing Set for Tuesday, July 10 in W Hotel, San Francisco June 12th, 2018

Nanometrics Updates Time of Webcast at Stifel 2018 Cross Sector Insight Conference June 12th, 2018

Sensors

Executives Explore Key Megatrends and Innovations in MEMS, Sensors, Imaging Tech at SEMI-MSIG European Summits: Speakers to share developments in smart automotive, smart cities, smart industrial, biomedical, consumer and IoT, September 19-21, 2018 in Grenoble, France June 19th, 2018

Physicists devise method to reveal how light affects materials: The new method adds to the understanding of the fundamental laws governing the interaction of electrons and light June 15th, 2018

New optical sensor can determine if molecules are left or right 'handed' June 13th, 2018

A nanotech sensor that turns molecular fingerprints into bar codes June 7th, 2018

Nanoelectronics

Leti Presenting Strategic Vision and Hosting a Workshop at SEMICON West: “From Electrons to Photons” Leti Workshop and CEO Media Briefing Set for Tuesday, July 10 in W Hotel, San Francisco June 12th, 2018

Quantum Interference May Be Key to Smaller Insulators: Breakthrough could jumpstart further miniaturization of transistors June 6th, 2018

Building nanomaterials for next-generation computing: Scientists recently developed a blueprint to fabricate new nanoheterostructures using 2D materials June 1st, 2018

Rare element to provide better material for high-speed electronics May 30th, 2018

Discoveries

Alzheimer's breakthrough: Brain metals that may drive disease progression revealed: In brains affected by Alzheimer's, researchers identify chemically reduced iron species, with mineral forms including a magnetic iron oxide June 22nd, 2018

Collaboration yields discovery of 12-sided silica cages June 20th, 2018

Carbon nanotube optics poised to provide pathway to optical-based quantum cryptography and quantum computing: Researchers are exploring enhanced potential of carbon nanotubes for unique applications June 18th, 2018

Camouflaged nanoparticles used to deliver killer protein to cancer June 17th, 2018

Announcements

Northwestern researchers achieve unprecedented control of polymer grids: Materials could find applications in water purification, solar energy storage, body armor June 22nd, 2018

Nanobiotix Publishes Positive Phase 2/3 Data For Nanomedicine in Soft Tissue Cancer (Webcast June 22) June 22nd, 2018

Alzheimer's breakthrough: Brain metals that may drive disease progression revealed: In brains affected by Alzheimer's, researchers identify chemically reduced iron species, with mineral forms including a magnetic iron oxide June 22nd, 2018

Collaboration yields discovery of 12-sided silica cages June 20th, 2018

Nanobiotechnology

Nanobiotix Publishes Positive Phase 2/3 Data For Nanomedicine in Soft Tissue Cancer (Webcast June 22) June 22nd, 2018

Alzheimer's breakthrough: Brain metals that may drive disease progression revealed: In brains affected by Alzheimer's, researchers identify chemically reduced iron species, with mineral forms including a magnetic iron oxide June 22nd, 2018

Collaboration yields discovery of 12-sided silica cages June 20th, 2018

JPK talks with Dr Frank Lafont, Director of the BioImaging Center Lille (BICeL) about the use of the NanoWizard® AFM together with fluorescence microscopy in the study of living cells June 19th, 2018

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project