Formation and electrical interfacing of nanocrystal-molecule nanostructures
University College Cork
The objective of this thesis work is to develop methods for forming and interfacing nanocrystal-molecule nanostructures in order to explore their electrical transport properties in various controlled environments. This work demonstrates the potential of nanocrystal assemblies for laterally contacting molecules for electronic transport measurements. We first propose a phenomenological model based on rate equations for the formation of hybrid nanocrystal-molecule (respectively: 20 nm – 1.2 nm) nanostructures in solution. We then concentrate on nanocrystals (~ 60 nm) assembled between nano-gaps (~ 40 nm) as a contacting strategy for the measurement of electronic transport properties of thiophene-terminated conjugated molecules (1.5 nm long) in a two-terminal configuration, under vacuum conditions. Similar devices were also probed with a three-terminal configuration using thiophene-terminated oxidation-reduction active molecules (1.8 nm long) in liquid medium for the demonstration of the electrolytic gating technique. The experimental and modelling work presented in this thesis project brings into light physical and chemical processes taking place at the extremely narrow (~1 nm separation) and curved interface between two nanocrystals or one nanocrystal and a grain of a metallic electrode. The formation of molecular bridges at this kind of interface necessitates molecules to diffuse from a large liquid reservoir into the region in the first place. Molecular bonding must occur to the surface for both molecular ends: this is a low yield statistical process in itself as it depends on orientation of surfaces, on steric hindrance at the surface and on binding energies. On the other hand, the experimental work also touched the importance of the competition between potentially immiscible liquids in systems such that (organo-)metallic molecules solvated by organic solvent in water and organic solvent in contact with hydrated citrate stabilised nanocrystals dispersed in solutions or assembled between electrodes from both experimental and simulations point of view.
Nanostructure formation , Electrolytic gating
Sassiat, N.P. 2011. Formation and electrical interfacing of nanocrystal-molecule nanostructures. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.