Unimolecular Electronic Devices

Part of the Topics in Current Chemistry book series (TOPCURRCHEM, volume 313)


The first active electronic components used vacuum tubes with appropriately-shaped electrodes, then junctions of appropriately-doped Ge, Si, or GaAs semiconductors. Electronic components can now be made with appropriately-designed organic molecules. As the commercial drive to make ever-smaller and faster circuits approaches the 3-nm limit, these unimolecular organic devices may become more useful than doped semiconductors. Here we discuss the electrical contacts between metallic electrodes and organic molecular components, and survey representative organic wires composed of conducting groups and organic rectifiers composed of electron-donor and -acceptor groups, and the Aviram-Ratner proposal for unimolecular rectification. Molecular capacitors and amplifiers are discussed briefly. Molecular electronic devices are not only ultimately small (<3 nm in all directions) and fast, but their excited states may be able to decay by photons, avoiding the enormous heat dissipation endured by Si-based components that decay by phonons. An all-organic computer is an ultimate, but more distant, goal.


Aviram-Ratner theory Cold gold evaporation Electron-acceptor groups Electron-donor groups Langmuir-Blodgett film Langmuir-Blodgett monolayer Orbital-mediated tunneling Rectifier Scanning tunneling microscopy Schottky barrier Schottky-Mott theory Self-assembled film Self-assembled monolayer Unimolecular amplifier Unimolecular electronic devices 



This work was achieved by the diligence and insight of so many colleagues, students, and post-doctoral fellows, to whom we owe an immense debt of gratitude, and facilitated by several grants from the United States National Science Foundation (the most recent being NSF-08-48206).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory for Molecular Electronics, Department of ChemistryThe University of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Chemistry and BiochemistryThe University of Mississippi, UniversityMississippiUSA

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