Single Molecule Electronics: Increasing Dynamic Range and Switching Speed Using Cross-Conjugated Species

David Q. Andrews, Gemma C. Solomon, Richard P. Van Duyne, Mark A. Ratner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Scopus citations


Molecular electronics is partly driven by the goal of producing active electronic elements that rival the performance of their solid-state counterparts, but on a much smaller size scale. We investigate what constitutes an ideal switch or molecular device, and how it can be designed, by analyzing transmission plots. The interference features in cross-conjugated molecules provide a large dynamic range in electron transmission probability, opening a new area for addressing electronic functionality in molecules. This large dynamic range is accessible through changes in electron density alone, enabling fast and stable switching. Using cross-conjugated molecules, we show how the width, depth, and energetic location of the interference features can be controlled. In an example of a single molecule transistor, we calculate a change in conductance of 8 orders of magnitude with an applied gate voltage. Using multiple interference features, we propose and calculate the current/voltage behavior of a molecular rectifier with a rectification ratio of >150 000. We calculate a purely electronic negative differential resistance behavior, suggesting that the large dynamic range in electron transmission probability caused by quantum interference could be exploited in future electronic devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17309-17319
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number51
StatePublished - Dec 24 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Catalysis
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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