Purdue University
Reifenberger Nanophysics Lab
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Current Research-Molecular Conduction

The world-wide interest in nanoscale electronics has re-kindled interest in questions regarding the electronic functionality that organic molecules may offer. The suggestion by Aviram and Ratner in 1974 that molecules can form a functional electronic component has become a cornerstone in the recent world-wide effort to search for and exploit novel functionality at the nanometer length scale. While appealing intellectually, the facile use of molecules to achieve electronic functionality is far from settled. New techniques, both theoretical and experimental, must be developed to answer fundamental questions.

We have been active in exploiting scanning tunneling microscope (STM) techniques to measure the molecular conductance of self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) of molecules. While it seems premature to wildly speculate at this time on the use of molecules in devices, experiments to further a basic understanding of the factors influencing current flow through molecules can be performed in a scientific and systematic way. This view reflects our broad-based experimental approach to the topic of molecular conduction in which we focus on measuring the I(V) behavior for a few (possibly only one) molecules.



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