Here we report molecular films terminated with diazonium salts moieties at both ends which enables single-molecule contacts between gold and silicon electrodes at open circuit via a radical reaction. We show that the kinetics of film grafting is crystal-facet dependent, being more favorable on ⟨111⟩ than on ⟨100⟩, a finding that adds control over surface chemistry during the device fabrication. The impact of this spontaneous chemistry in single-molecule electronics is demonstrated using STM-break junction approaches by forming metal−single-molecule−semiconductor junctions between silicon and gold source and drain, electrodes. Au−C and Si−C molecule−electrode contacts result in single-molecule wires that are mechanically stable, with an average lifetime at room temperature of 1.1 s, which is 30−400% higher than that reported for conventional molecular junctions formed between gold electrodes using thiol and amine contact groups. The high stability enabled measuring current− voltage properties during the lifetime of the molecular junction. We show that current rectification, which is intrinsic to metal− semiconductor junctions, can be controlled when a single-molecule bridges the gap in the junction. The system changes from being a current rectifier in the absence of a molecular bridge to an ohmic contact when a single molecule is covalently bonded to both silicon and gold electrodes. This study paves the way for the merging of the fields of single-molecule and silicon electronics.
- Gold electrode
- silicon electrode
- Diazonium salts
- metal-single-molecule-semiconductor junctions
- molecular electronics