Shaping the Atomic-Scale Geometries of Electrodes to Control Optical and Electrical Performance of Molecular Devices

Zhikai Zhao, Ran Liu, Dirk Mayer, Maristella Coppola, Lu Sun, Youngsang Kim, Chuankui Wang, Lifa Ni, Xing Chen, Maoning Wang, Zongliang Li, Takhee Lee, Dong Xiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


A straightforward method to generate both atomic-scale sharp and atomic-scale planar electrodes is reported. The atomic-scale sharp electrodes are generated by precisely stretching a suspended nanowire, while the atomic-scale planar electrodes are obtained via mechanically controllable interelectrodes compression followed by a thermal-driven atom migration process. Notably, the gap size between the electrodes can be precisely controlled at subangstrom accuracy with this method. These two types of electrodes are subsequently employed to investigate the properties of single molecular junctions. It is found, for the first time, that the conductance of the amine-linked molecular junctions can be enhanced ≈50% as the atomic-scale sharp electrodes are used. However, the atomic-scale planar electrodes show great advantages to enhance the sensitivity of Raman scattering upon the variation of nanogap size. The underlying mechanisms for these two interesting observations are clarified with the help of density functional theory calculation and finite-element method simulation. These findings not only provide a strategy to control the electron transport through the molecule junction, but also pave a way to modulate the optical response as well as to improve the stability of single molecular devices via the rational design of electrodes geometries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1703815
Issue number15
StatePublished - Apr 12 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science


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