Carbon tips for all-carbon single-molecule electronics
We present here an exhaustive ab initio study of the use of carbon-based tips as electrodes in single-molecule junctions. Motivated by recent experiments, we show that carbon tips can be combined with other carbon nanostructures, such as graphene, to form all-carbon molecular junctions with molecules like benzene or C60. Our results show that the use of carbon tips can lead to relatively conductive molecular junctions. However, contrary to junctions formed with standard metals, the conductance traces recorded during the formation of the all-carbon single-molecule junctions do not exhibit clear conductance plateaus, which can be attributed to the inability of the hydrogenated carbon tips to form chemical bonds with the organic molecules. Additionally, we explore here the use of carbon tips for scanning tunneling microscopy and show that they are well suited for obtaining sample images with atomic resolution.