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Keywords:

  • bottom electrodes;
  • charge transport;
  • molecular electronics;
  • self-assembled monolayers;
  • tunneling decay constant

Abstract

A controversy in molecular electronics is the unexplained large spread in values of the tunneling decay coefficient β in tunneling junctions with self-assembled monolayers of n-alkanethiolates (SCn). We show control of the β value over the range 0.4–1.0 nC−1 in junctions by changing the topography of the bottom electrodes that support the SAMs. Very low β values (0.4–0.5 nC−1) are obtained for rough surfaces with large areas of exposed grain boundaries, while β=1.0 nC−1 for smooth surfaces with small areas of exposed grain boundaries.