[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Understanding the relationships between the molecular structure and electronic transport characteristics of single-molecule junctions is of fundamental and technological importance for future molecular electronics. Herein, we report a combined experimental and theoretical study on the single-molecule conductance of a series of oligo(phenylene ethynylene) (OPE) molecular wires, which consist of two phenyl-ethynyl-phenyl π units with different dihedral angles. The molecular conductance was studied by scanning tunneling microscopy (STM)-based break-junction techniques under different conditions, including variable temperature and bias potential, which suggested that a coherent tunneling mechanism takes place in the OPE molecular wires with a length of 2.5 nm. The conductance of OPE molecular junctions are strongly affected by the coupling strength between the two π systems, which can be tuned by controlling their intramolecular conformation. A cos(2) θ dependence was revealed between the molecular conductance and dihedral angles between the two conjugated units. Theoretical investigations on the basis of density functional theory and nonequilibrium Green's functions (NEGF) gave consistent results with the experimental observations and provided insights into the conformation-dominated molecular conductance.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2013 · Chemistry - An Asian Journal
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We designed two cruciform-structured oligo(phenylenethynylene) (OPE) molecular wires for probing the intra- and inter-molecular exciton migration pathways, and constructed highly ordered molecular assembly using Langmuir−Blodgett (LB) technique. Minor structural variation turns out to influence significantly exciton migration routes. Though the molecular structures are similar, these two molecules exhibit distinct exciton migration behaviors. Intermolecular exciton migration is observed in unmodified molecular wire OPE1; while only intramolecular exciton migration is allowed in the side-chain modified molecular wire OPE2. This work presents a facile strategy for controlling exciton migration in solid state, and provides useful insights for designing active components for opto-electronic devices.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2011 · Chemical Physics Letters
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The feasibility of employing azulene-like molecules as a new type of high performance substitution-free molecular rectifier has been explored using NEGF-DFT calculation. The electronic transport behaviors of metal-molecule-metal junctions consisting of various azulene-like dithiol molecules are investigated, which reveals that the azulene-like molecules exhibit high conductance and bias-dependent rectification effects. Among all the substitution-free azulene-like structures, cyclohepta[b]cyclopenta[g]naphthalene exhibits the highest rectification ratio, revealing that the all fused aromatic ring structure and an appropriate separation between the pentagon and heptagon rings are essential for achieving both high conductance and high rectification ratio. The rectification ratio can be increased by substituting the pentagon ring with electron-withdrawing group and/or the heptagon ring with electron donating groups. Further increase of the rectification ratio may also be obtained by lithium adsorption on the pentagon ring. This work reveals that azulene-like molecules may be used as a new class of highly conductive unimolecular rectifiers.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Understanding the effects of intermolecular interactions on the charge-transport properties of metal/molecule/metal junctions is an important step towards using individual molecules as building blocks for electronic devices. This work reports a systematic electron-transport investigation on a series of "core-shell"-structured oligo(phenylene ethynylene) (Gn-OPE) molecular wires. By using dendrimers of different generations as insulating "shells", the intermolecular π-π interactions between the OPE "cores" can be precisely controlled in single-component monolayers. Three techniques are used to evaluate the electron-transport properties of the Au/Gn-OPE/Au molecular junctions, including crossed-wire junction, scanning tunneling spectroscopy (STS), and scanning tunneling microscope (STM) break-junction techniques. The STM break-junction measurement reveals that the electron-transport pathways are strongly affected by the size of the side groups. When the side groups are small, electron transport could occur through three pathways, including through single-molecule junctions, double-molecule junctions, and molecular bridges between adjacent molecules formed by aromatic π-π coupling. The dendrimer shells effectively prohibit the π-π coupling effect, but at the same time, very large dendrimer side groups may hinder the formation of Au-S bonds. A first-generation dendrimer acts as an optimal shell that only allows electron transport through the single-molecule junction pathway, and forbids the other undesired pathways. It is demonstrated that the dendrimer-based core-shell strategy allows the single-molecule conductance to be probed in a homogenous monolayer without the influence of intermolecular π-π interactions.
Full-text · Article · Jul 2011 · Chemistry - A European Journal
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Two series of oligo(phenylene ethynylene)s (OPEs) with different dendrimer side groups have been designed and synthesized. The molecules contain thiol groups at both ends to enable interconnection between nanoscale gapped metallic electrodes. The different dendrimer groups act as "shells", allowing tailoring to the nanoscopic environment surrounding the OPE "core". Meanwhile, the dendrimer shells also act as spacers for the precise control of the packing density and intermolecular interaction between the OPE cores. [structure: see text].