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The realization of single-molecule electronic devices, in which a nanometer-scale molecule is connected to macroscopic leads, requires the reproducible production of highly ordered nanoscale gaps in which a molecule of interest is electrostatically coupled to nearby gate electrodes. Understanding how the molecule-gate coupling depends on key parameters is crucial for the development of high-performance devices. Here we directly address this, presenting two- and three-dimensional finite-element electrostatic simulations of the electrode geometries formed using emerging fabrication techniques. We quantify the gate coupling intrinsic to these devices, exploring the roles of parameters believed to be relevant to such devices. These include the thickness and nature of the dielectric used, and the gate screening due to different device geometries. On the singlemolecule ( ~ 1 nm) scale, we find that device geometry plays a greater role in the gate coupling than the dielectric constant or the thickness of the insulator. Compared to the typical uniform nanogap electrode geometry envisioned, we find that nonuniform tapered electrodes yield a significant 3 orders of magnitude improvement in gate coupling. We also find that in the tapered geometry the polarizability of a molecular channel works to enhance the gate coupling.
Date Posted: 06 January 2011
This document has been peer reviewed.