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Institute of Solid State Physics
The ultimate miniaturization of electronics would be to use single molecules as electronic components. In a recent Nanoletters article, a team from M.I.T., Humbolt University, Montan University, Georgia Tech, and the TU Graz, explain why exchanging a single carbon atom with a nitrogen atom in certain molecules increases the electrical conductivity of the molecules by more than two orders of magnitude. The results provide clear guidelines for the rational design of single-molecule metals and highly doped single-molecule semiconducting devices. This is important for the development of bio-compatible interfaces between inorganic and organic matter. The image visualizes the transport channel in one of the studied molecules, a boron doped dithiol derivative of pyrene where the thiol groups are separated from the π-conjugated core by a methylene (i.e., -CH2-) spacer.