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Distance Dependence Of Electron Tunneling Through Self-Assembled Monolayers Measured By Conducting Probe Atomic Force Microscopy: Unsaturated Versus Saturated Molecular Junctions

D. J. Wold, R. Haag, M. A. Rampi, C. Frisbie
Published 2002 · Chemistry

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Electron tunneling through self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) composed of either unsaturated or saturated molecules was investigated using conducting probe atomic force microscopy (CP-AFM). SAMs of unsaturated oligophenylene thiolates or saturated alkanethiolates were assembled on Au substrates and contacted with a Au-coated AFM tip at constant applied load. The current−voltage (I−V) characteristics of both types of SAMs were linear over ±0.3 V. Resistance (R) increased exponentially with molecular length (s) in both cases according to the expected relationship, R = R0 exp(βs), but the rate of increase, as quantified by the structure-dependent factor β, was much less for the unsaturated SAMs than for the saturated alkanethiolate SAMs. Average β values were 0.42 ± 0.07 A-1 for the oligophenylene thiolate SAMs and 0.94 ± 0.06 A-1 for the alkanethiolate SAMs. Extrapolation of semilog plots of resistance versus molecular length to zero length yielded an estimate of the metal−molecule contact resistance, which w...
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