Promising anchoring groups for single-molecule conductance measurements
The understanding of the charge transport through single molecule junctions is a prerequisite for the design and building of electronic circuits based on single molecule junctions. However, reliable and robust formation of such junctions is a challenging task to achieve. In this topical review, we present a systematic investigation of the anchoring group effect on single molecule junction conductance by employing two complementary techniques, namely scanning tunneling microscopy break junction (STM-BJ) and mechanically controllable break junction (MCBJ) techniques, based on the studies published in the literature and important results from our own work. We compared conductance studies for conventional anchoring groups described earlier with the molecular junctions formed through π-interactions with the electrode surface (Au, Pt, Ag) and we also summarized recent developments in the formation of highly conducting covalent Au–C σ-bonds using oligophenyleneethynylene (OPE) and an alkane molecular backbone. Specifically, we focus on the electron transport properties of diaryloligoyne, oligophenyleneethynylene (OPE) and/or alkane molecular junctions composed of several traditional anchoring groups, (dihydrobenzo[b]thiophene (BT), 5-benzothienyl analogue (BTh), thiol (SH), pyridyl (PY), amine (NH2), cyano (CN), methyl sulphide (SMe), nitro (NO2)) and other anchoring groups at the solid/liquid interface. The qualitative and quantitative comparison of the results obtained with different anchoring groups reveals structural and mechanistic details of the different types of single molecular junctions. The results reported in this prospective may serve as a guideline for the design and synthesis of molecular systems to be used in molecule-based electronic devices.