We perform temperature dependent conductance measurements on sub-nanometer sized single molecules bound to gold electrodes using a scanning tunneling microscope-based break junction technique in Ultra-High Vacuum (UHV). We find a threefold increase in the conductance of amine-terminated conjugated molecules when the temperature increases from 4 K to 300 K in UHV. Furthermore, the conductance measured at 300 K in UHV is consistent with solution-based measurements under ambient conditions where the transport mechanism corresponds to off-resonant electron tunneling across the molecule. Our measurements indicate that at 300 K, conductance is largely independent of pressure or solvent around the junction. In addition, our data unambiguously show that temperature can affect the tunneling conductance of single molecule-metal junctions. We show that the structure of the metal electrodes that form in these junctions varies systematically with temperature, and hypothesize that this changing structure of the interface alters electron tunneling probability and propose a mechanism to explain our findings.
Temperature dependent tunneling conductance of single molecule junctions
M. Kamenetska, J. R. Widawsky, M. Dell’Angela, M. Frei, Latha Venkataraman; Temperature dependent tunneling conductance of single molecule junctions. J. Chem. Phys. 7 March 2017; 146 (9): 092311. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4973318
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