In-Place Modulation of Rectification in Tunneling Junctions Comprising Self-Assembled Monolayers

Ai, Y., Kovalchuk, A., Qiu, X., Zhang, Y., Kumar, S., Wang, X., Kühnel, M., Nørgaard, K. & Chiechi, R. C., Dec-2018, In : Nano Letters. 18, 12, p. 7552-7559

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

This paper describes tunneling junctions comprising self-assembled monolayers that can be converted between resistor and diode functionality in-place. The rectification ratio is affected by the hydration of densely packed carboxylic acid groups at the interface between the top-contact and the monolayer. We studied this process by treatment with water and a water scavenger using three different top-contacts, eutectic Ga-In (EGaIn), conducting-probe atomic force microscopy (CP-AFM), and reduced graphene oxide (rGO), demonstrating that the phenomena is molecular in nature and is not platform-speciffc. We propose a mechanism in which the tunneling junctions convert to diode behavior through the lowering of the LUMO, which is suffcient to bring it close to resonance at positive bias, potentially assisted by a Stark shift. This shift in energy is supported by calculations and a change in polarization observed by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and Kelvin probe measurements. We demonstrate light-driven modulation using spiropyran as a photoacid, suggesting that any chemical process that is coupled to the release of small molecules that can tightly bind carboxylic acid groups can be used as an external stimulus to modulate rectification. The ability to convert a tunneling junction reversibly between a diode and a resistor via an effect that is intrinsic to the molecules in the junction extends the possible applications of Molecular Electronics to reconfigurable circuits and other new functionalities that do not have direct analogs in conventional semiconductor devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7552-7559
JournalNano Letters
Issue number12
Early online date9-Nov-2018
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2018

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