research: molecular junctions and devices
We explore the electrical properties of devices containing atomically precise structures with sizes reaching typically only a few nanometers. In these conditions, charge carriers have to travel through extremely confined geometries, electronic energy levels separate beyond the thermal energy, even at room temperature, and quantum effects become apparent in electrical transport.
Fabricating electronic devices with atomic precision is extremely challenging and in many cases impossible. Molecules however can be chemically synthesized with atomic precision and in large quantities. To some level, molecules or also self-assembled metallic and semiconducting clusters can be seen as the smallest building blocks where structure and electronic function can be engineered. Instead of preparing solid-state devices by continuously reducing their size, we therefore combine here micro- and nano-fabrication techniques with chemical bonding and self-assembly to build molecular devices. In such devices, the major electrodes and contact lines are continuous, metallic or semiconducting materials while the smallest, electronically active units are organic.
The fabrication and study of molecular devices is highly interdisciplinary and mixes physics, chemistry and engineering. A few examples of our research are shown below.
The research is conducted within the Nanoelectronics group led by C. Schönenberger