skip to main content

Title: Heterospin biradicals provide insight into molecular conductance and rectification
The correlation of electron transfer with molecular conductance ( g : electron transport through single molecules) by Nitzan and others has contributed to a fundamental understanding of single-molecule electronic materials. When an unsymmetric, dipolar molecule spans two electrodes, the possibility exists for different conductance values at equal, but opposite electrode biases. In the device configuration, these molecules serve as rectifiers of the current and the efficiency of the device is given by the rectification ratio (RR = g forward / g reverse ). Experimental determination of the RR is challenging since the orientation of the rectifying molecule with respect to the electrodes and with respect to the electrode bias direction is difficult to establish. Thus, while two different values of g can be measured and a RR calculated, one cannot easily assign each conductance value as being aligned with or opposed to the molecular dipole, and calculations are often required to resolve the uncertainty. Herein, we describe the properties of two isomeric, triplet ground state biradical molecules that serve as constant-bias analogs of single-molecule electronic devices. Through established theoretical relationships between g and electronic coupling, H 2 , and between H 2 and magnetic exchange coupling, J ( g ∝ more » H 2 ∝ J ), we use the ratio of experimental J -values for our two isomers to calculate a RR for an unsymmetric bridge molecule with known geometry relative to the two radical fragments of the molecule and at a spectroscopically-defined potential bias. Our experimental results are compared with device transport calculations. « less
Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1301346
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10081782
Journal Name:
Chemical Science
Volume:
8
Issue:
8
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
5408 to 5415
ISSN:
2041-6520
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Resonant tunneling diodes (RTDs) have come full-circle in the past 10 years after their demonstration in the early 1990s as the fastest room-temperature semiconductor oscillator, displaying experimental results up to 712 GHz and fmax values exceeding 1.0 THz [1]. Now the RTD is once again the preeminent electronic oscillator above 1.0 THz and is being implemented as a coherent source [2] and a self-oscillating mixer [3], amongst other applications. This paper concerns RTD electroluminescence – an effect that has been studied very little in the past 30+ years of RTD development, and not at room temperature. We present experiments andmore »modeling of an n-type In0.53Ga0.47As/AlAs double-barrier RTD operating as a cross-gap light emitter at ~300K. The MBE-growth stack is shown in Fig. 1(a). A 15-μm-diam-mesa device was defined by standard planar processing including a top annular ohmic contact with a 5-μm-diam pinhole in the center to couple out enough of the internal emission for accurate free-space power measurements [4]. The emission spectra have the behavior displayed in Fig. 1(b), parameterized by bias voltage (VB). The long wavelength emission edge is at  = 1684 nm - close to the In0.53Ga0.47As bandgap energy of Ug ≈ 0.75 eV at 300 K. The spectral peaks for VB = 2.8 and 3.0 V both occur around  = 1550 nm (h = 0.75 eV), so blue-shifted relative to the peak of the “ideal”, bulk InGaAs emission spectrum shown in Fig. 1(b) [5]. These results are consistent with the model displayed in Fig. 1(c), whereby the broad emission peak is attributed to the radiative recombination between electrons accumulated on the emitter side, and holes generated on the emitter side by interband tunneling with current density Jinter. The blue-shifted main peak is attributed to the quantum-size effect on the emitter side, which creates a radiative recombination rate RN,2 comparable to the band-edge cross-gap rate RN,1. Further support for this model is provided by the shorter wavelength and weaker emission peak shown in Fig. 1(b) around = 1148 nm. Our quantum mechanical calculations attribute this to radiative recombination RR,3 in the RTD quantum well between the electron ground-state level E1,e, and the hole level E1,h. To further test the model and estimate quantum efficiencies, we conducted optical power measurements using a large-area Ge photodiode located ≈3 mm away from the RTD pinhole, and having spectral response between 800 and 1800 nm with a peak responsivity of ≈0.85 A/W at  =1550 nm. Simultaneous I-V and L-V plots were obtained and are plotted in Fig. 2(a) with positive bias on the top contact (emitter on the bottom). The I-V curve displays a pronounced NDR region having a current peak-to-valley current ratio of 10.7 (typical for In0.53Ga0.47As RTDs). The external quantum efficiency (EQE) was calculated from EQE = e∙IP/(∙IE∙h) where IP is the photodiode dc current and IE the RTD current. The plot of EQE is shown in Fig. 2(b) where we see a very rapid rise with VB, but a maximum value (at VB= 3.0 V) of only ≈2×10-5. To extract the internal quantum efficiency (IQE), we use the expression EQE= c ∙i ∙r ≡ c∙IQE where ci, and r are the optical-coupling, electrical-injection, and radiative recombination efficiencies, respectively [6]. Our separate optical calculations yield c≈3.4×10-4 (limited primarily by the small pinhole) from which we obtain the curve of IQE plotted in Fig. 2(b) (right-hand scale). The maximum value of IQE (again at VB = 3.0 V) is 6.0%. From the implicit definition of IQE in terms of i and r given above, and the fact that the recombination efficiency in In0.53Ga0.47As is likely limited by Auger scattering, this result for IQE suggests that i might be significantly high. To estimate i, we have used the experimental total current of Fig. 2(a), the Kane two-band model of interband tunneling [7] computed in conjunction with a solution to Poisson’s equation across the entire structure, and a rate-equation model of Auger recombination on the emitter side [6] assuming a free-electron density of 2×1018 cm3. We focus on the high-bias regime above VB = 2.5 V of Fig. 2(a) where most of the interband tunneling should occur in the depletion region on the collector side [Jinter,2 in Fig. 1(c)]. And because of the high-quality of the InGaAs/AlAs heterostructure (very few traps or deep levels), most of the holes should reach the emitter side by some combination of drift, diffusion, and tunneling through the valence-band double barriers (Type-I offset) between InGaAs and AlAs. The computed interband current density Jinter is shown in Fig. 3(a) along with the total current density Jtot. At the maximum Jinter (at VB=3.0 V) of 7.4×102 A/cm2, we get i = Jinter/Jtot = 0.18, which is surprisingly high considering there is no p-type doping in the device. When combined with the Auger-limited r of 0.41 and c ≈ 3.4×10-4, we find a model value of IQE = 7.4% in good agreement with experiment. This leads to the model values for EQE plotted in Fig. 2(b) - also in good agreement with experiment. Finally, we address the high Jinter and consider a possible universal nature of the light-emission mechanism. Fig. 3(b) shows the tunneling probability T according to the Kane two-band model in the three materials, In0.53Ga0.47As, GaAs, and GaN, following our observation of a similar electroluminescence mechanism in GaN/AlN RTDs (due to strong polarization field of wurtzite structures) [8]. The expression is Tinter = (2/9)∙exp[(-2 ∙Ug 2 ∙me)/(2h∙P∙E)], where Ug is the bandgap energy, P is the valence-to-conduction-band momentum matrix element, and E is the electric field. Values for the highest calculated internal E fields for the InGaAs and GaN are also shown, indicating that Tinter in those structures approaches values of ~10-5. As shown, a GaAs RTD would require an internal field of ~6×105 V/cm, which is rarely realized in standard GaAs RTDs, perhaps explaining why there have been few if any reports of room-temperature electroluminescence in the GaAs devices. [1] E.R. Brown,et al., Appl. Phys. Lett., vol. 58, 2291, 1991. [5] S. Sze, Physics of Semiconductor Devices, 2nd Ed. 12.2.1 (Wiley, 1981). [2] M. Feiginov et al., Appl. Phys. Lett., 99, 233506, 2011. [6] L. Coldren, Diode Lasers and Photonic Integrated Circuits, (Wiley, 1995). [3] Y. Nishida et al., Nature Sci. Reports, 9, 18125, 2019. [7] E.O. Kane, J. of Appl. Phy 32, 83 (1961). [4] P. Fakhimi, et al., 2019 DRC Conference Digest. [8] T. Growden, et al., Nature Light: Science & Applications 7, 17150 (2018). [5] S. Sze, Physics of Semiconductor Devices, 2nd Ed. 12.2.1 (Wiley, 1981). [6] L. Coldren, Diode Lasers and Photonic Integrated Circuits, (Wiley, 1995). [7] E.O. Kane, J. of Appl. Phy 32, 83 (1961). [8] T. Growden, et al., Nature Light: Science & Applications 7, 17150 (2018).« less
  2. Intercalating ds-DNA/RNA with small molecules can play an essential role in controlling the electron transmission probability for molecular electronics applications such as biosensors, single-molecule transistors, and data storage. However, its applications are limited due to a lack of understanding the nature of intercalation and electron transport mechanisms. We addressed this long-standing problem by studying the effect of intercalation on both the molecular structure and charge transport along the nucleic acids using molecular dynamics simulations and first-principle calculations coupled with Green’s function method, respectively. The study on anthraquinone and anthraquinone-neomycin conjugate intercalation into short nucleic acids reveals some universal features: 1)more »the intercalation affects the transmission by two mechanisms: a) inducing energy levels within the bandgap and b) shifting the location of the Fermi energy with respect to the molecular orbitals of the nucleic acid, 2) the effect of intercalation was found to be dependent on the redox state of the intercalator: while oxidized anthraquinone decreases, reduced anthraquinone increases the conductance, and 3) the sequence of intercalated nucleic acid further affects the transmission: lowering the AT-region length was found to enhance the electronic coupling of the intercalator with GC bases, hence yielding an increase of more than four times in conductance. We anticipate our study to inspire designing intercalator-nucleic acid complexes for potential use in molecular electronics via creating a multi-level gating effect.« less
  3. Metal-molecule-metal junctions based on alkane thiol (C n T) and oligophenylene thiol (OPT n ) self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) and Au electrodes are expected to exhibit similar electrical asymmetry, as both junctions have one chemisorbed Au–S contact and one physisorbed, van der Waals contact. Asymmetry is quantified by the current rectification ratio RR apparent in the current–voltage ( I – V ) characteristics. Here we show that RR < 1 for C n T and RR > 1 for OPT n junctions, in contrast to expectation, and further, that RR behaves very differently for C n T and OPT n junctionsmore »under mechanical extension using the conducting probe atomic force microscopy (CP-AFM) testbed. The analysis presented in this paper, which leverages results from the previously validated single level model and ab initio quantum chemical calculations, allows us to explain the puzzling experimental findings for C n T and OPT n in terms of different current rectification mechanisms. Specifically, in C n T-based junctions the Stark effect creates the HOMO level shifting necessary for rectification, while for OPT n junctions the level shift arises from position-dependent coupling of the HOMO wavefunction with the junction electrostatic potential profile. On the basis of these mechanisms, our quantum chemical calculations allow quantitative description of the impact of mechanical deformation on the measured current rectification. Additionally, our analysis, matched to experiment, facilitates direct estimation of the impact of intramolecular electrostatic screening on the junction potential profile. Overall, our examination of current rectification in benchmark molecular tunnel junctions illuminates key physical mechanisms at play in single step tunneling through molecules, and demonstrates the quantitative agreement that can be obtained between experiment and theory in these systems.« less
  4. Paramagnetic single-molecule magnets (SMMs) interacting with the ferromagnetic electrodes of a magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ) produce a new system. The properties and future scope of new systems differ dramatically from the properties of isolated molecules and ferromagnets. However, it is unknown how far deep in the ferromagnetic electrode the impact of the paramagnetic molecule and ferromagnet interactions can travel for various levels of molecular spin states. Our prior experimental studies showed two types of paramagnetic SMMs, the hexanuclear Mn 6 and octanuclear Fe–Ni molecular complexes, covalently bonded to ferromagnets produced unprecedented strong antiferromagnetic coupling between two ferromagnets at room temperaturemore »leading to a number of intriguing observations (P. Tyagi, et al. , Org. Electron. , 2019, 64 , 188–194. P. Tyagi, et al. , RSC Adv. , 2020, 10 , (22), 13006–13015). This paper reports a Monte Carlo Simulations (MCS) study focusing on the impact of the molecular spin state on a cross junction shaped MTJ based molecular spintronics device (MTJMSD). Our MCS study focused on the Heisenberg model of MTJMSD and investigated the impact of various molecular coupling strengths, thermal energy, and molecular spin states. To gauge the impact of the molecular spin state on the region of ferromagnetic electrodes, we examined the spatial distribution of molecule-ferromagnet correlated phases. Our MCS study shows that under a strong coupling regime, the molecular spin state should be ∼30% of the ferromagnetic electrode's atomic spins to create long-range correlated phases.« less
  5. Conducting probe atomic force microscopy (CP-AFM) was employed to examine electron tunneling in self-assembled monolayer (SAM) junctions. A 2.3 nm long perylene tetracarboxylic acid diimide (PDI) acceptor molecule equipped with isocyanide linker groups was synthesized, adsorbed onto Ag, Au and Pt substrates, and the current–voltage ( I – V ) properties were measured by CP-AFM. The dependence of the low-bias resistance ( R ) on contact work function indicates that transport is LUMO-assisted (‘n-type behavior’). A single-level tunneling model combined with transition voltage spectroscopy (TVS) was employed to analyze the experimental I – V curves and to extract the effectivemore »LUMO position ε l = E LUMO − E F and the effective electronic coupling ( Γ ) between the PDI redox core and the contacts. This analysis revealed a strong Fermi level ( E F ) pinning effect in all the junctions, likely due to interface dipoles that significantly increased with increasing contact work function, as revealed by scanning Kelvin probe microscopy (SKPM). Furthermore, the temperature ( T ) dependence of R was found to be substantial. For Pt/Pt junctions, R varied more than two orders of magnitude in the range 248 K < T < 338 K. Importantly, the R ( T ) data are consistent with a single step electron tunneling mechanism and allow independent determination of ε l , giving values compatible with estimates of ε l based on analysis of the full I – V data. Theoretical analysis revealed a general criterion to unambiguously rule out a two-step transport mechanism: namely, if measured resistance data exhibit a pronounced Arrhenius-type temperature dependence, a two-step electron transfer scenario should be excluded in cases where the activation energy depends on contact metallurgy. Overall, our results indicate (1) the generality of the Fermi level pinning phenomenon in molecular junctions, (2) the utility of employing the single level tunneling model for determining essential electronic structure parameters ( ε l and Γ ), and (3) the importance of changing the nature of the contacts to verify transport mechanisms.« less