One-Nanometer Thin Mono layers Remove the Deleterious Effect of Substrate Defects in Molecular Tunnel Junctions

Li Jiang, C. S. Suchand Sangeeth, Li Yuan, Damien Thompson*, Christian A. Nijhuis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Defects in self-assembled monolayer (SAMs) based junctions cause the largest deviation between predicted and measured values of the tunnelling current. We report the remarkable, seemingly counterintuitive finding that shorter, less-ordered SAMs provide, unlike taller crystalline-like SAMs, higher quality tunnelling barriers on defective substrates, which points to self-repair of liquid-like SAMs on defects. The molecular dynamics show that short-chain molecules can more easily rotate into low-density boundary regions and smoothen out defects than thick solid-like SAMs. Our findings point to an attractive means of removing their deleterious effects simply by using flexible molecules.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6643-6649
JournalNano letters
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Molecular electronics
  • EGaIn junctions
  • self-assembled monolayers
  • self-repair
  • defects

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