Identifying the molecular adsorption site of a single molecule junction through combined Raman and conductance studies†
Single-molecule junctions are ideal test beds for investigating the fundamentals of charge transport at the nanoscale. Conducting properties are strongly dependent on the metal–molecule interface geometry, which, however, is very poorly characterized due to numerous experimental challenges. We report on a new methodology for characterizing the adsorption site of single-molecule junctions through the combination of surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS), current–voltage (I–V) curve measurements, and density functional theory simulations. This new methodology discriminates between three different adsorption sites for benzenedithiol and aminobenzenethiol junctions, which cannot be identified by solo measurements of either SERS or I–V curves. Using this methodology, we determine the interface geometry of these two prototypical molecules at the junction and its time evolution. By modulating the applied voltage, we can change and monitor the distribution of adsorption sites at the junction.