Redox Control of Charge Transport in Vertical Ferrocene Molecular Tunnel Junctions
Chuancheng Jia, Iain M Grace, Peiqi Wang, Abdelkareem Almeshal, Zhihong Huang, Yiliu Wang, Peng Chen, Laiyuan Wang, Jingyuan Zhou, Ziying Feng, Zipeng Zhao, Yu Huang, Colin J Lambert, Xiangfeng Duan
Chem 6, 1172-1182 (2020)
Controlling charge transport through molecular tunnel junctions is of crucial importance for exploring basic physical and chemical mechanisms at the molecular level and realizing the applications of molecular devices. Here, through a combined experimental and theoretical investigation, we demonstrate redox control of cross-plane charge transport in a vertical gold/self-assembled monolayer (SAM)/graphene tunnel junction composed of a ferrocene-based SAM. When an oxidant/reductant or electrochemical control is applied to the outside surface of the neutral single-layer graphene top electrode, reversible redox reactions of ferrocene groups take place with charges crossing the graphene layer. This leads to counter anions on the outer surface of graphene, which balance the charges of ferrocene cations in the oxidized state. Correspondingly, the junctions switch between a high-conductance, neutral state with asymmetrical characteristics and a low-conductance, oxidized state with symmetrical characteristics, yielding a large on/off ratio (>100).