Electric-field-driven dual-functional molecular switches in tunnel junctions

Yingmei Han, Cameron Nickle, Ziyu Zhang, Hippolyte P. A. G. Astier, Thorin J. Duffin, Dongchen Qi, Zhe Wang, Enrique del Barco*, Damien Thompson*, Christian A. Nijhuis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

120 Citations (Scopus)


To avoid crosstalk and suppress leakage currents in resistive random access memories (RRAMs), a resistive switch and a current rectifier (diode) are usually combined in series in a one diode–one resistor (1D–1R) RRAM. However, this complicates the design of next-generation RRAM, increases the footprint of devices and increases the operating voltage as the potential drops over two consecutive junctions1. Here, we report a molecular tunnel junction based on molecules that provide an unprecedented dual functionality of diode and variable resistor, resulting in a molecular-scale 1D–1R RRAM with a current rectification ratio of 2.5 × 104 and resistive on/off ratio of 6.7 × 103, and a low drive voltage of 0.89 V. The switching relies on dimerization of redox units, resulting in hybridization of molecular orbitals accompanied by directional ion migration. This electric-field-driven molecular switch operating in the tunnelling regime enables a class of molecular devices where multiple electronic functions are preprogrammed inside a single molecular layer with a thickness of only 2 nm.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)843-848
Number of pages6
JournalNature materials
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes


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