Issue 2, 2017

Conductance in a bis-terpyridine based single molecular breadboard circuit


Controlling charge flow in single molecule circuits with multiple electrical contacts and conductance pathways is a much sought after goal in molecular electronics. In this joint experimental and theoretical study, we advance the possibility of creating single molecule breadboard circuits through an analysis of the conductance of a bis-terpyridine based molecule (TP1). The TP1 molecule can adopt multiple conformations through relative rotations of 7 aromatic rings and can attach to electrodes in 61 possible single and multi-terminal configurations through 6 pyridyl groups. Despite this complexity, we show that it is possible to extract well defined conductance features for the TP1 breadboard and assign them rigorously to the underlying constituent circuits. Mechanically controllable break-junction (MCBJ) experiments on the TP1 molecular breadboard show an unprecedented 4 conductance states spanning a range 10 −2G0 to 10 −7G0. Quantitative theoretical examination of the conductance of TP1 reveals that combinations of 5 types of single terminal 2–5 ring subcircuits are accessed as a function of electrode separation to produce the distinct conductance steps observed in the MCBJ experiments. We estimate the absolute conductance for each single terminal subcircuit and its percentage contribution to the 4 experimentally observed conductance states. We also provide a detailed analysis of the role of quantum interference and thermal fluctuations in modulating conductance within the subcircuits of the TP1 molecular breadboard. Finally, we discuss the possible development of molecular circuit theory and experimental advances necessary for mapping conductance through complex single molecular breadboard circuits in terms of their constituent subcircuits.

Graphical abstract: Conductance in a bis-terpyridine based single molecular breadboard circuit

Supplementary files

Article information

Article type
Edge Article
20 Jul 2016
03 Nov 2016
First published
03 Nov 2016
This article is Open Access

All publication charges for this article have been paid for by the Royal Society of Chemistry
Creative Commons BY license

Chem. Sci., 2017,8, 1576-1591

Conductance in a bis-terpyridine based single molecular breadboard circuit

C. Seth, V. Kaliginedi, S. Suravarapu, D. Reber, W. Hong, T. Wandlowski, F. Lafolet, P. Broekmann, G. Royal and R. Venkatramani, Chem. Sci., 2017, 8, 1576 DOI: 10.1039/C6SC03204D

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