Quantum Interference and Substantial Property Tuning in Conjugated Z- ortho-Regio-Resistive Organic (ZORRO) Junctions

Leighton O. Jones, Martín A. Mosquera, Bo Fu, George C. Schatz, Tobin J. Marks*, Mark A. Ratner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Coherence is a significant factor in nanoscale electronic insulator technology and necessitates an understanding of the structure-property relationship between constructive and destructive quantum interference. This is particularly important in organic dielectric circuitry, which is the subject of this work. It is known that molecular wires composed of (i) meta-substituted phenylene rings, (ii) cross-conjugated double bonds (orthogonal to the molecular long axis), and (iii) single bonds can dramatically reduce electrical transmission. Here we add to these tools the use of an unexplored molecular shape to create strong and counterintuitive interference: a fully conjugated molecular wire with a structure that is forced back on itself in a Z shape, thereby exhibiting remarkably low conductance (G = 0.43 × 10-9 S) even though the phenylene arrangements are ortho- rather than meta-disposed. We call these Z-shaped molecules having ultralow conduction Z-ortho-regio-resistive organics (ZORROs). Here we analyze a series of ZORRO molecules and find them to have significant insulating properties in the coherent electron-transport regime due to interfering transmission pathways in the phenylene rings. Importantly, we find that both electron-withdrawing (fluorine) and electron-donating (methoxy) substituents enhance the transmission, which is not desirable. The former is due to the suppression of the destructive quantum interference at the F site, thereby enhancing the overall transmission, much like a Büttiker probe. The latter is due to a methoxy unit resonance additive effect, akin to oxygen doping, and positively contributes to the transmission. We then examine the effects of replacing the phenylene rings with 4,5- and 3,4-disubstituted thiophenes and how this ZORRO modification further reduces the transmission. An ultralow conductance of 0.13 × 10-9 S and a relatively high dielectric constant (ϵr) of 5 are predicted for the 3,4-thiophene ZORRO derivative, which closely resembles two cross-conjugated units, making it an intriguing candidate for a gate dielectric material.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8956-8963
Number of pages8
JournalNano letters
StatePublished - 2019


  • Charge transport
  • dielectrics
  • insulators
  • molecular junction
  • nanomaterials
  • quantum interference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Quantum Interference and Substantial Property Tuning in Conjugated Z- ortho-Regio-Resistive Organic (ZORRO) Junctions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this