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Molecular Series-tunneling Junctions.

Kung-Ching Liao, L. Hsu, C. Bowers, H. Rabitz, G. Whitesides
Published 2015 · Chemistry, Medicine

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Charge transport through junctions consisting of insulating molecular units is a quantum phenomenon that cannot be described adequately by classical circuit laws. This paper explores tunneling current densities in self-assembled monolayer (SAM)-based junctions with the structure Ag(TS)/O2C-R1-R2-H//Ga2O3/EGaIn, where Ag(TS) is template-stripped silver and EGaIn is the eutectic alloy of gallium and indium; R1 and R2 refer to two classes of insulating molecular units-(CH2)n and (C6H4)m-that are connected in series and have different tunneling decay constants in the Simmons equation. These junctions can be analyzed as a form of series-tunneling junctions based on the observation that permuting the order of R1 and R2 in the junction does not alter the overall rate of charge transport. By using the Ag/O2C interface, this system decouples the highest occupied molecular orbital (HOMO, which is localized on the carboxylate group) from strong interactions with the R1 and R2 units. The differences in rates of tunneling are thus determined by the electronic structure of the groups R1 and R2; these differences are not influenced by the order of R1 and R2 in the SAM. In an electrical potential model that rationalizes this observation, R1 and R2 contribute independently to the height of the barrier. This model explicitly assumes that contributions to rates of tunneling from the Ag(TS)/O2C and H//Ga2O3 interfaces are constant across the series examined. The current density of these series-tunneling junctions can be described by J(V) = J0(V) exp(-β1d1 - β2d2), where J(V) is the current density (A/cm(2)) at applied voltage V and βi and di are the parameters describing the attenuation of the tunneling current through a rectangular tunneling barrier, with width d and a height related to the attenuation factor β.
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