Metal-Molecule-Metal Junctions in Langmuir-Blodgett Films Using a New Linker: Trimethylsilane

G. Pera, S. Martín, L.M. Ballesteros, A.J. Hope, Paul Low, R.J. Nichols, P. Cea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Herein trimethylsilane (TMS) is demonstrated to be an efficient binding group suitable for construction of metal–molecule–metal (M–mol–M′) junctions, in which one of the metal contacts is an atomically flat gold surface and the other a scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) tip. The molecular component of the M–mol–M′ devices is an oligomeric phenylene ethynylene (OPE) derivative Me3Si C≡C{C6H4C≡C}2C6H4NH2, featuring both Me3SiC≡C and NH2 metal contacting groups. This compound can be assembled into Langmuir–Blodgett (LB) films on Au[BOND]substrates by surface binding through the amine groups. Alternatively, low coverage (sub-monolayer) films are formed by adsorption from solution. In the case of condensed monolayers top electrical contacts are formed to STM tips through the TMS end group. In low coverage films, single molecular bridges can be formed between the gold surface and a gold STM tip. The similarity in the I–V response of a one-layer LB film and the single molecule conductance experiments reveals several points of critical importance to the design of molecular components for use in the construction of M–mol–M′ junctions. Firstly, the presence of neighbouring π systems does not have a significant effect on the conductance of the M–mol–M′ junction. Secondly, in the STM configuration, intermolecular electron hopping does not significantly enhance the junction transport characteristics. Thirdly, the symmetric behaviour of the I–V curves obtained, despite the different metal–molecule contacts, indicates that the molecule is simply an amphiphilic electron-donating wire and not a molecular diode with strong rectifying characteristics. Finally, the conductance values obtained from the amine/TMS-contacted OPE described here are of the same order of magnitude as thiol anchored OPEs, making them attractive alternatives to the more conventionally used thiol-contacting chemistry for OPE molecular wires.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13398 - 13405
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number45
Early online date7 Oct 2010
Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2010

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    Pera, G., Martín, S., Ballesteros, L. M., Hope, A. J., Low, P., Nichols, R. J., & Cea, P. (2010). Metal-Molecule-Metal Junctions in Langmuir-Blodgett Films Using a New Linker: Trimethylsilane. Chemistry - A European Journal, 16(45), 13398 - 13405.