Charge Transport and Rectification in Arrays of SAM-Based Tunneling Junctions

Christian A. Nijhuis, William F. Reus, Jabulani R. Barber, Michael D. Dickey, George M. Whitesides*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

208 Citations (Scopus)
29 Downloads (Pure)


This paper describes a method of fabrication that generates small arrays of tunneling junctions based on self-assembled monolayers (SAMs); these junctions have liquid-metal top-electrodes stabilized in microchannels and ultraflat (template-stripped) bottom-electrodes. The yield of junctions generated using this method is high (70−90%). The junctions examined incorporated SAMs of alkanethiolates having ferrocene termini (11-(ferrocenyl)-1-undecanethiol, SC11Fc); these junctions rectify currents with large rectification ratios (R), the majority of which fall within the range of 90−180. These values are larger than expected (theory predicts R ≤ 20) and are larger than previous experimental measurements. SAMs of n-alkanethiolates without the Fc groups (SCn−1CH3, with n = 12, 14, 16, or 18) do not rectify (R ranged from 1.0 to 5.0). These arrays enable the measurement of the electrical characteristics of the junctions as a function of chemical structure, voltage, and temperature over the range of 110−293 K, with statistically large numbers of data (N = 300−800). The mechanism of rectification with Fc-terminated SAMs seems to be charge transport processes that change with the polarity of bias: from tunneling (at one bias) to hopping combined with tunneling (at the opposite bias).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3611-3619
JournalNano letters
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Nanoelectronics
  • molecular electronics
  • charge transport
  • self-assembled monolayers
  • rectification
  • charge transfer


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