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Identifying Diversity in Nanoscale Electrical Break Junctions

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


  • Santiago Martín
  • Iain Grace
  • Martin R. Bryce
  • Changsheng Wang
  • Rukkiat Jitchat
  • Andrei S. Batsanov
  • Simon J. Higgins
  • Colin Lambert
  • Richard J. Nichols
Journal publication date2010
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Number of pages8
Original languageEnglish


The realization of molecular-scale electronic devices will require the development of novel strategies for controlling electrical properties of metal|molecule|metal junctions, down to the single molecule level. Here, we show that it is possible to exert chemical control over the formation of metal|molecule...molecule|metal junctions in which the molecules interact by π-stacking. The tip of an STM is used to form one contact, and the substrate the other; the molecules are conjugated oligophenyleneethynylenes (OPEs). Supramolecular π−π interactions allow current to flow through the junction, but not if bulky tert-butyl substituents on the phenyl rings prevent such interactions. For the first time, we find evidence that π-stacked junctions can form even for OPEs with two thiol contacts. Furthermore, we find evidence for metal|molecule|metal junctions involving oligophenyleneethynylene monothiols, in which the second contact must be formed by the interaction of the π-electrons of the terminal phenyl ring with the metal surface.