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Molecular Control Over Au/GaAs Diodes

A. Vilan, A. Shanzer, D. Cahen
Published 2000 · Chemistry, Medicine

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The use of molecules to control electron transport is an interesting possibility, not least because of the anticipated role of molecules in future electronic devices. But physical implementations using discrete molecules are neither conceptually simple nor technically straightforward (difficulties arise in connecting the molecules to the macroscopic environment). But the use of molecules in electronic devices is not limited to single molecules, molecular wires or bulk material. Here we demonstrate that molecules can control the electrical characteristics of conventional metal–semiconductor junctions, apparently without the need for electrons to be transferred onto and through the molecules. We modify diodes by adsorbing small molecules onto single crystals of n-type GaAs semiconductor. Gold contacts were deposited onto the modified surface, using a ‘soft’ method to avoid damaging the molecules. By using a series of multifunctional molecules whose dipole is varied systematically, we produce diodes with an effective barrier height that is tuned by the molecule's dipole moment. These barrier heights correlate well with the change in work function of the GaAs surface after molecular modification. This behaviour is consistent with that of unmodified metal–semiconductor diodes, in which the barrier height can depend on the metal's work function.
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