In Operando Characterization and Control over Intermittent Light Emission from Molecular Tunnel Junctions via Molecular Backbone Rigidity

Wei Du, Nikodem Tomczak, Lejia Wang, Christian A. Nijhuis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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In principle, excitation of surface plasmons by molecular tunnel junctions can be controlled at the molecular level. Stable electrical excitation sources of surface plasmons are therefore desirable. Herein, molecular junctions are reported where tunneling charge carriers excite surface plasmons in the gold bottom electrodes via inelastic tunneling and it is shown that the intermittent light emission (blinking) originates from conformational dynamics of the molecules. The blinking rates, in turn, are controlled by changing the rigidity of the molecular backbone. Power spectral density analysis shows that molecular junctions with flexible aliphatic molecules blink, while junctions with rigid aromatic molecules do not.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1900390
JournalAdvanced science
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • intermittent light emission
  • molecular electronics
  • molecular tunneling junctions
  • noise characterization
  • plasmon excitation

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