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Advantages Of Prefabricated Tunnel Junction-Based Molecular Spintronics Devices

Pawan Tyagi, Edward Friebe, Collin Baker

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Molecule-based devices may govern the advancement of the next generation's logic and memory devices. Molecules have the potential to be unmatched device elements as chemists can mass produce an endless variety of molecules with novel optical, magnetic and charge transport characteristics. However, the biggest challenge is to connect two metal leads to a target molecule(s) and develop a robust and versatile device fabrication technology that can be adopted for commercial scale mass production. This paper discusses distinct advantages of utilizing commercially successful tunnel junctions as a vehicle for developing molecular spintronics devices. We describe the use of a prefabricated tunnel junction with the exposed sides as a testbed for molecular device fabrication. On the exposed sides of a tunnel junction molecules are bridged across an insulator by chemically bonding with the two metal electrodes; sequential growth of metal–insulator–metal layers ensures that separation between two metal electrodes is controlled by the insulator thickness to the molecular device length scale. This paper highlights various attributes of tunnel junction-based molecular devices with ferromagnetic electrodes for making molecular spintronics devices. We strongly emphasize a need for close collaboration between chemists and magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ) researchers. Such partnerships will have a strong potential to develop tunnel junction-based molecular devices for futuristic areas such as memory devices, magnetic metamaterials, high sensitivity multi-chemical biosensors, etc.