Molecular electronics: Some views on transport junctions and beyond

Christian Joachim, Mark A. Ratner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

406 Scopus citations


The field of molecular electronics comprises a fundamental set of issues concerning the electronic response of molecules as parts of a mesoscopic structure and a technology-facing area of science. We will overview some important aspects of these subfields. The most advanced ideas in the field involve the use of molecules as individual logic or memory units and are broadly based on using the quantum state space of the molecule. Current work in molecular electronics usually addresses molecular junction transport, where the molecule acts as a barrier for incoming electrons: This is the fundamental Landauer idea of "conduction as scattering" generalized to molecular junction structures. Another point of view in terms of superexchange as a guiding mechanism for coherent electron transfer through the molecular bridge is discussed. Molecules generally exhibit relatively strong vibronic coupling. The last section of this overview focuses on vibronic effects, including inelastic electron tunneling spectroscopy, hysteresis in junction charge transport, and negative differential resistance in molecular transport junctions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8801-8808
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number25
StatePublished - Jun 21 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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