"Nanotechnology - Dream or Reality"
molecules as tailormade nanoscale functional units
Marcel Mayor, University of Basel, Department of Chemistry
Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe GmbH, Institute for Nanotechnology
Molecules are the smallest objects still providing an almost infinite structural diversity, making them to promising nanoscale building blocks which are designed and assembled by synthetic chemistry. Furthermore, the experimental tools to investigate these objects even on the single molecule level have been developed by experimental physicists providing an outstanding basis for the inspiring and fruitful cooperation between scientists from these two disciplines.
Integrated in electronic circuits, the ability of single molecules to modulate the transport current is investigated. In particular the synthesis of series of compounds of well defined structural variations followed by their transport investigations improved the comprehension of the structure/property relationship considerably. First examples of single molecule devises have been developed successfully like e.g. a single molecule rectifier or electro¬chemically triggered single molecule switches. Current investigations are geared towards new switching concepts and memory devices. In particular electrochemically triggered switching mechanisms like potential dependent coordination of anchor groups or systems with redox state dependent conformations will be presented. Furthermore, molecular systems interlinking optical and electronic signals are in the focus of interest. However, due to the very limited optical absorption properties of individual molecules, self assembled monolayers (SAMs) of molecules are currently investigated. Recently, a SAM of biphenyl based azo-rods displayed promising large area switching properties allowing its integration as optically triggered functional element in an electronic circuit.
Furthermore, new strategies to assemble nanoparticle/molecule superstructures based on multidentate macroscopic ligands will be discussed. Of particular interest are dumbbell type structures consisting of a bridging molecule between two nanoparticles, which might already be considered as subunits of the metallic electrodes. Thus, the size of the object that has to be contacted from top-down is considerably increased in such bottom-up assembled superstructures. The investigations are geared towards a wet chemical approach to reproducible and in reasonable yields producible dumbbell structures suitable for parallel integration methods like e.g. electrostatic trapping.
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 R. Huber, M. T. González, S. Wu, M. Langer, S. Grunder, V. Horhoiu, M. Mayor, M. R. Bryce, C. Wang, R. Jitchati, C. Schönenberger, M. Calame, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2008, 130, 1080.
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 Z. Li, I. Pabelov, B. Han, T. Wandlowski, A. Blaszczyk, M. Mayor, Nanotechnology, 2007,18, 044018.
 S. Grunder, R. Huber, V. Horhoiu, M. T. González, C. Schönenberger, M. Calame, M. Mayor, J. Org. Chem., 2007, 72, 8337.
 G. Pace, V. Ferri, C. Grave, M. Elbing, C. von Hänisch, M. Zharnikov, M. Mayor, M. A. Rampi, P. Samorì, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA, 2007, 104, 9937.
 V. Ferri, M. Elbing, G. Pace, M. D. Dickey, M. Zharnikov, P. Samorì, M. Mayor, M. A. Rampi, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2008, 47, 3407.
 T. Peterle, A. Leifert, J. Timper, A. Sologubenko, U. Simon, M. Mayor, Chem. Commun., 2008, 3438.
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