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Probing Molecular Junctions Using Surface Plasmon Resonance Spectroscopy.

Ken T. Shimizu, R. Pala, J. D. Fabbri, M. Brongersma, N. Melosh
Published 2006 · Medicine, Materials Science

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The optical absorption spectra of nanometer-thick organic films and molecular monolayers sandwiched between two metal contacts have been measured successfully using surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy (SPRS). The electric field within metal-insulator (organic)-metal (MIM) cross-bar junctions created by surface plasmon-polaritons excited on the metal surface allows sensitive measurement of molecular optical properties. Specifically, this spectroscopic technique extracts the real and imaginary indices of the organic layer for each wavelength of interest. The SPRS sensitivity was calculated for several device architectures, metals, and layer thicknesses to optimize the organic film absorptivity measurements. Distinct optical absorption features were clearly observed for R6G layers as thin as a single molecular monolayer between two metal electrodes. This method also enables dynamic measurement of molecular conformation inside metallic junctions, as shown by following the optical switching of a thin spiropyran/polymer film upon exposure to UV light. Finally, optical and electrical measurements can be made simultaneously to study the effect of electrical bias and current on molecular conformation, which may have significant impact in areas such as molecular and organic electronics.

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