Transition from Strong to Weak Electronic Coupling in a Single-Molecule Junction

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Abstract

We have investigated charge transport in single-molecule junctions using gold nanoelectrodes at room and cryogenic (10 K) temperatures. A statistical analysis of the low-bias conductance, measured during the stretching of the molecular junctions, shows that the most probable single-molecule conductance is insensitive to the temperature as expected for off-resonant coherent transport. Low-temperature current-voltage measurements show that these junction conformations have a smooth tunnelinglike shape. While separating the electrodes further we find that, in about one-fourth of the cases, the junction switches in an abrupt way to a configuration with I-V characteristics exhibiting a gap around zero bias and resonances at finite bias. The analysis of the I-V shape and of the conductance distance dependence suggests a stretching-induced transition from the strong to the weak electronic coupling regime. The transition involves a large renormalization of the injection barrier and of the electronic coupling between the molecule and the electrodes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number126804
Number of pages6
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Volume117
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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