Nanoskiving JoVE Video

Why SAMs?

The term "molecular electronics" is normally associated with single-molecule measurements (spectroscopy); however we use self-assembled monolayers to construct molecular-electronic devices. Click "read more" to find out why.


SAM-Templated Addressable Nanogaps

A central challenge to electrically interfacing molecules from our macro world is producing nanostructures that possess both features on the molecular scale—single nanometers—and on a scale large enough to connect to external circuitry. Several methods of fabricating nanoscale gaps with controlled spacing have been reported, including mechanical break junctions, electron- beam lithography, electrochemical plating, electromigration, focused ion beam lithography, shadow evaporation, scanning probe and atomic force microscopy, on-wire lithography, and molecular rulers. Each of these methods have their own applications and limitations, but despite all the progress in this field, there remain challenges to producing electrodes with single-nanometer spacings that can be fabricated and positioned in a precise and controllable manner and that are readily electrically-addressable. The most common approach is to fabricate the “nano” part of the device, containing a nascent gap (e.g., the sacrificial metal in on-wire lithography or the con- striction point in break junctions) and then using a lithographic process to connect it to wires and contact pads before unmasking the nanogap. This approach is effective, but laborious, and be- cause gap-sizes of single nanometers also demand sub-nanometer resolutions, they push modern nanofabrication methods to their technical limits. The resulting complexity necessitates special- ized infrastructure (clean rooms, e-beam/photolithography equipment, etc.) and the commensurate overhead—cost, training, and time. A more desirable approach is to start from a simple technique that is far from its technical limits, leaving plenty of room for improvement and adaptation to specific experiments/applications.



Charge Separation in Self-Assembled Monolayers

Biological systems are driven by self-assembly processes that are unimaginably complex compared to what modern chemistry can achieve.  The photosystems of plants and bacteria are one of the most complex and studied biological systems.  The self-assembly of thiolates on gold is one the simplest non-natural systems and also one the most studied.  Is there a realistic intersection between these two?  Figure 1 outlines a very simple concept; using the self-assembly of functional SAMs on gold to create well-defined interfaces.

EGaIn As a Conformal Top-Contact



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