Controlling the direction of rectification in a molecular diode

Li Yuan, Nisachol Nerngchamnong, Liang Cao, Hicham Hamoudi, Enrique Del Barco, Max Roemer, Ravi K. Sriramula, Damien Thompson, Christian A. Nijhuis

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102 Citations (Scopus)


A challenge in molecular electronics is to control the strength of the molecule-electrode coupling to optimize device performance. Here we show that non-covalent contacts between the active molecular component (in this case, ferrocenyl of a ferrocenyl-alkanethiol self-assembled monolayer (SAM)) and the electrodes allow for robust coupling with minimal energy broadening of the molecular level, precisely what is required to maximize the rectification ratio of a molecular diode. In contrast, strong chemisorbed contacts through the ferrocenyl result in large energy broadening, leakage currents and poor device performance. By gradually shifting the ferrocenyl from the top to the bottom of the SAM, we map the shape of the electrostatic potential profile across the molecules and we are able to control the direction of rectification by tuning the ferrocenyl-electrode coupling parameters. Our demonstrated control of the molecule-electrode coupling is important for rational design of materials that rely on charge transport across organic-inorganic interfaces.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6324
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Cite this

Yuan, L., Nerngchamnong, N., Cao, L., Hamoudi, H., Del Barco, E., Roemer, M., Sriramula, R. K., Thompson, D., & Nijhuis, C. A. (2015). Controlling the direction of rectification in a molecular diode. Nature Communications, 6, [6324].