Designing the structure of molecular junctions for nanoscale electronic circuits

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Single molecule circuits, where individual molecules are placed between two nano-electrodes, are ideal systems to create molecular-scale functional materials with the desired electronic properties. The potential implications are significant for nanoelectronics and could also help with climate change through more efficient nanoscale devices.

European Interest Group CONCERT-Japan has approved funding over 280.000 EUR for the project Design and Control of Single Molecule Junctions (DECOSMOL), which will design and characterize single molecule circuits with tailored mechanical, conducting and thermoelectric properties. The international team will study materials at room temperature, which is the likely condition of any potential technological applications in nanoelectronics.

The trilateral collaboration is expected to solve key problems hampering the realization of single-moleculedevices. To achieve this, the scientist will be combining chemical synthesis, atomistic simulations, and a series of experimental measurements including electron transport break-junction methods and optical spectroscopies.

The flow of an electrical current across the junction depends on molecular chemical properties and on the atomistic details of the contacts to the electrodes, which are thus essential to characterize. The Czech partner (Molecular Transport Group of Dr. Héctor Vázquez from FZU) will perform atomistic simulations of molecular junctions, while the Spanish partners (Fundación IMDEA Nanociencia, Granada University) will synthesize new molecular structures and measure their conductance and thermopower. The Japanese scientist (Tokyo Institute of Technology) will be responsible for transport characterization and junction structure analysis.

The modification of materials structure at an atomic level will address key issues and bring us a step forward in the realisation of nanoscale applications with tailored properties.

European Interest Group CONCERT-J (EIG CONCERT) is an international joint initiative to support and enhance science, technology, and innovation cooperation between European countries and Japan. The 9th Joint Call under the title of Design of Materials with Atomic Precision was implemented by a collaborative funding initiative of EIG CONCERT-Japan together with a funding agency from Switzerland.