Graphene to improve molecular electronics

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A new way to tune the functionality of molecular electronic devices using graphene has been shown by an international team of researchers led by the University of Bern and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL).

The results could be exploited to develop smaller, higher performance devices for use in a range of applications including molecular sensing, flexible electronics, and energy conversion and storage, as well as robust measurement setups for resistance standards.

The main obstacle hindering progress in nanoscale molecular electronics is the absence of stable contacts between the molecules and metals used that can both operate at room temperature and provide reproducible results.

To overcome this limit, the team demonstrated the stability of multi-layer graphene-based molecular electronic devices down to the single molecule limit.

"We find that by carefully designing the chemical contact of molecules to graphene-based materials, we can tune their functionality," said NPL researcher Dr Rungger. "Our single-molecule diodes showed that the rectification direction of electric current can be indeed switched by changing the nature of chemical contact of each molecule.”