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Molecular characterization in liquid and cryogenic environments

Kilibarda, F.; Strobel, A.; Lokamani, M.; Sendler, T.; Mortensen, M.; Gothelf, K.; Erbe, A.


Current industrial scaling processes are reaching limits. We see not only diminishing returns with further scaling attempts, but also physical limitations that come more and more into play. In our research we offer a novel approach, to use single molecules as electronic components.
This approach offers not only size improvements, but also a reduction in power consumption and costs. Our research focuses on classifying different molecules with the help of Mechanically Controlled Break Junction (MCBJ). Here we present two different kinds of measurements.
One is performed in liquid solution and under ambient conditions, and the other one in a cryogenic environment, under vacuum.
As a test bed for these measurements we use salen and 𝐶₆₀ molecules, respectively. In the case of salen molecules, we show, how chemical doping influences energy levels and affects electron transport through the molecule. The experimental results are supported by quantum chemical calculations. The 𝐶₆₀ measurements demonstrate that we can remove the influence of the solvent by in situ molecular evaporation into the nanoscopic junction. Additionally, operation under vacuum allows us to use more reactive metals for the nano-junction, and thus vary metal-molecule orbital overlap, where in traditional approach contacts are made out of noble metals like gold.

Keywords: Scaling; single molecule; molecular electronics; MCBJ; break junction; electron transport; energy level; quantum chemical calculation; cryogenic; solvent; chemical doping; salen; 𝐶₆₀

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