High thermopower of mechanically stretched single-molecule junctions.
ABSTRACT: Metal-molecule-metal junction is a promising candidate for thermoelectric applications that utilizes quantum confinement effects in the chemically defined zero-dimensional atomic structure to achieve enhanced dimensionless figure of merit ZT. A key issue in this new class of thermoelectric nanomaterials is to clarify the sensitivity of thermoelectricity on the molecular junction configurations. Here we report simultaneous measurements of the thermoelectric voltage and conductance on Au-1,4-benzenedithiol (BDT)-Au junctions mechanically-stretched in-situ at sub-nanoscale. We obtained the average single-molecule conductance and thermopower of 0.01 G0 and 15??V/K, respectively, suggesting charge transport through the highest occupied molecular orbital. Meanwhile, we found the single-molecule thermoelectric transport properties extremely-sensitive to the BDT bridge configurations, whereby manifesting the importance to design the electrode-molecule contact motifs for optimizing the thermoelectric performance of molecular junctions.
Project description:Molecular junction is a chemically-defined nanostructure whose discrete electronic states are expected to render enhanced thermoelectric figure of merit suitable for energy-harvesting applications. Here, we report on geometrical dependence of thermoelectricity in metal-molecule-metal structures. We performed simultaneous measurements of the electrical conductance and thermovoltage of aromatic molecules having different anchoring groups at room temperature in vacuum. We elucidated the mutual contributions of vacuum tunnelling on thermoelectricity in the short molecular bridges. We also found stretching-induced thermoelectric voltage enhancement in thiol-linked single-molecule bridges along with absence of the pulling effects in diamine counterparts, thereby suggested that the electromechanical effect would be a rather universal phenomenon in Au-S anchored molecular junctions that undergo substantial metal-molecule contact elongation upon stretching. The present results provide a novel concept for molecular design to achieve high thermopower with single-molecule junctions.
Project description:Electronic and structural detail at the electrode-molecule interface have a significant influence on charge transport across molecular junctions. Despite the decisive role of the metal-molecule interface, a complete electronic and structural characterization of the interface remains a challenge. This is in no small part due to current experimental limitations. Here, we present a comprehensive approach to obtain a detailed description of the metal-molecule interface in single-molecule junctions, based on current-voltage (I-V) measurements. Contrary to conventional conductance studies, this I-V approach provides a correlated statistical description of both, the degree of electronic coupling across the metal-molecule interface, and the energy alignment between the conduction orbital and the Fermi level of the electrode. This exhaustive statistical approach was employed to study single-molecule junctions of 1,4-benzenediamine (BDA), 1,4-butanediamine (C4DA), and 1,4-benzenedithiol (BDT). A single interfacial configuration was observed for both BDA and C4DA junctions, while three different interfacial arrangements were resolved for BDT. This multiplicity is due to different molecular adsorption sites on the Au surface namely on-top, hollow, and bridge. Furthermore, C4DA junctions present a fluctuating I-V curve arising from the greater conformational freedom of the saturated alkyl chain, in sharp contrast with the rigid aromatic backbone of both BDA and BDT.
Project description:Atomic and molecular junctions are an emerging class of thermoelectric materials that exploit quantum confinement effects to obtain an enhanced figure of merit. An important feature in such nanoscale systems is that the electron and heat transport become highly sensitive to the atomic configurations. Here we report the characterization of geometry-sensitive thermoelectricity in atom-sized junctions at room temperatures. We measured the electrical conductance and thermoelectric power of gold nanocontacts simultaneously down to the single atom size. We found junction conductance dependent thermoelectric voltage oscillations with period 2e(2)/h. We also observed quantum suppression of thermovoltage fluctuations in fully-transparent contacts. These quantum confinement effects appeared only statistically due to the geometry-sensitive nature of thermoelectricity in the atom-sized junctions. The present method can be applied to various nanomaterials including single-molecules or nanoparticles and thus may be used as a useful platform for developing low-dimensional thermoelectric building blocks.
Project description:Simultaneous engineering of electron and phonon transport through nanoscale molecular junctions is fundamental to the development of high-performance thermoelectric materials for the conversion of waste heat into electricity and cooling. Here, we demonstrate a systematic improvement of the room-temperature thermoelectric figure of merit (ZT) of molecular junctions. This is achieved by phonon interference (PI)-suppressed thermal conductance and quantum interference-enhanced electrical conductance and Seebeck coefficient. This strategy leads to a significant enhancement of ZT from low values ca. 10-6 in oligo(phenylene-ethynylene) (OPE2) to the record values of 2.4 in dinitro-functionalized OPE2 (DOPE2). The dinitro functionalization also considerably enhances ZT of biphenyl-dithiol (BDT) and bipyridyl molecular junctions. Remarkably, the energy levels of electron-withdrawing nitro groups are hardly changed from one molecule to the other. Because of this generic feature, a resonance transport in the vicinity of Fermi energy of electrodes is formed leading to a significant improvement of Seebeck coefficient and ZT of all derivatives. For example, the Seebeck coefficient enhances from 10.8 ?V/K in BDT to -470 ?V/K in dinitro-BDT (DBDT). In addition, destructive PI due to the nitro groups suppresses phonon thermal conductance, for example, from 20 pW/K in BDT to 11 pW/K in DBDT at room temperature. We also demonstrate that quantum and PI-enhanced single-molecule thermoelectric efficiency is conserved when parallel molecules are placed between gold electrodes. These results promise to remove the key roadblocks and open new avenues to exploit functionalized organic molecules for thermoelectric energy harvesting and cooling.
Project description:Control of dimensionality has proven to be an effective way to manipulate the electronic properties of materials, thereby enabling exotic quantum phenomena, such as superconductivity, quantum Hall effects, and valleytronic effects. Another example is thermoelectricity, which has been theoretically proposed to be favorably controllable by reducing the dimensionality. Here, we verify this proposal by performing a systematic study on a gate-tuned 2D electron gas (2DEG) system formed at the surface of ZnO. Combining state-of-the-art electric-double-layer transistor experiments and realistic tight-binding calculations, we show that, for a wide range of carrier densities, the 2DEG channel comprises a single subband, and its effective thickness can be reduced to [Formula: see text] 1 nm at sufficiently high gate biases. We also demonstrate that the thermoelectric performance of the 2DEG region is significantly higher than that of bulk ZnO. Our approach opens up a route to exploit the peculiar behavior of 2DEG electronic states and realize thermoelectric devices with advanced functionalities.
Project description:We applied a combination of mechanically controllable break junction (MCBJ) and in situ surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) methods to investigate the long-standing single-molecule conductance discrepancy of prototypical benzene-1,4-dithiol (BDT) junctions. Single-molecule conductance characterization, together with configuration analysis of the molecular junction, suggested that disulfide-mediated dimerization of BDT contributed to the low conductance feature, which was further verified by the detection of S-S bond formation through in situ SERS characterization. Control experiments demonstrated that the disulfide-mediated dimerization could be tuned via the chemical inhibitor. Our findings suggest that a combined electrical and SERS method is capable of probing chemical reactions at the single-molecule level.
Project description:The realization of self-assembled molecular-electronic films, whose room-temperature transport properties are controlled by quantum interference (QI), is an essential step in the scale-up of QI effects from single molecules to parallel arrays of molecules. Recently, the effect of destructive QI (DQI) on the electrical conductance of self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) has been investigated. Here, through a combined experimental and theoretical investigation, we demonstrate chemical control of different forms of constructive QI (CQI) in cross-plane transport through SAMs and assess its influence on cross-plane thermoelectricity in SAMs. It is known that the electrical conductance of single molecules can be controlled in a deterministic manner, by chemically varying their connectivity to external electrodes. Here, by employing synthetic methodologies to vary the connectivity of terminal anchor groups around aromatic anthracene cores, and by forming SAMs of the resulting molecules, we clearly demonstrate that this signature of CQI can be translated into SAM-on-gold molecular films. We show that the conductance of vertical molecular junctions formed from anthracene-based molecules with two different connectivities differ by a factor of approximately 16, in agreement with theoretical predictions for their conductance ratio based on CQI effects within the core. We also demonstrate that for molecules with thioether anchor groups, the Seebeck coefficient of such films is connectivity dependent and with an appropriate choice of connectivity can be boosted by ?50%. This demonstration of QI and its influence on thermoelectricity in SAMs represents a critical step toward functional ultra-thin-film devices for future thermoelectric and molecular-scale electronics applications.
Project description:Density functional theory (DFT) and the non-equilibrium Green's function (NEGF) formalism in the linear response regime were employed to investigate the impact of doping on the electronic and phononic transport properties in an anthracene molecule attached to two metallic zigzag graphene nanoribbons (ZGNRs). Boron (B) and nitrogen (N) atoms were used for doping and co-doping (NB) of carbon atoms located at the edge of the anthracene molecule. Our results show that B doping enhances the electronic transport in comparison with the other dopants which is due to its ability to increase the binding energy of the system. The chemical doping of the anthracene molecule mainly impacts on the thermopower which results in a significantly enhanced electronic contribution of the figure of merit. On the contrary, considering the effect of phononic thermal conductance suppresses the figure of merit. However, by taking into account the effect of both electron and phonon contributions to the thermal conductance, we find that the thermoelectric efficiency can be improved by B doping. The potential role of the phononic thermal conductance in shaping the thermoelectric properties of molecular junctions has been ignored in numerous studies, however, our findings demonstrate its importance for a realistic and accurate estimation of the thermoelectric figure of merit.
Project description:Based on the ab initio calculation, a method of one-dimension transmission combined with three-dimension correction approximation (OTCTCA) is developed to investigate electron-transport properties of molecular junctions. The method considers that the functional molecule provides a spatial distribution of effective potential field for the electronic transport. The electrons are injected from one electrode by bias voltage, then transmit through the potential field around the functional molecule, at last are poured into the other electrode with a specific transmission probability which is calculated from one-dimension Schrödinger equation combined with three-dimension correction. The electron-transport properties of alkane diamines and 4, 4'-bipyridine molecular junctions are studied by applying OTCTCA method. The numerical results show that the conductance obviously exponentially decays with the increase of molecular length. When stretching molecular junctions, steps with a certain width are presented in conductance traces. Especially, in stretching process of 4, 4'-bipyridine molecular junction, if the terminal N atom is broken from flat part of electrode tip and exactly there is a surface Au atom on the tip nearby the N atom, the molecule generally turns to absorb on the surface Au atom, which further results in another lower conductance step in the traces as the experimental probing.
Project description:As the field of molecular-scale electronics matures and the prospect of devices incorporating molecular wires becomes more feasible, it is necessary to progress from the simple anchor groups used in fundamental conductance studies to more elaborate anchors designed with device stability in mind. This study presents a series of oligo(phenylene-ethynylene) wires with one tetrapodal anchor and a phenyl or pyridyl head group. The new anchors are designed to bind strongly to gold surfaces without disrupting the conductance pathway of the wires. Conductive probe atomic force microscopy (cAFM) was used to determine the conductance of self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) of the wires in Au-SAM-Pt and Au-SAM-graphene junctions, from which the conductance per molecule was derived. For tolane-type wires, mean conductances per molecule of up to 10-4.37 ?G0 (Pt) and 10-3.78 ?G0 (graphene) were measured, despite limited electronic coupling to the Au electrode, demonstrating the potential of this approach. Computational studies of the surface binding geometry and transport properties rationalise and support the experimental results.