Electromechanically actuating molecules

Publication Type:



Energy Efficient Electronic Systems (E3S), 2015 Fourth Berkeley Symposium on , ieeexplore.ieee.org, p.1-3 (2015)


2015, applied electrostatic force, conductive contacts, device failure, electrical stimuli, Electrodes, electromechanical actuators, electromechanical modulation, electromechanically actuating molecules, force control, low powered electronics, low-power electronics, microelectrodes, microswitches, molecular layer compression, nanoactuators, nanoelectromechanical switch, nanometer-thick organic molecular layer, Nanoscale devices, nanoscale switching gaps, NEM switch, next generation devices, Organic materials, organic synthesis, Oxidation, Plastics, Shape, Stationary state, sub-nanoscale structures, surface adhesion minimization, switches, Tunneling, tunneling current, tunneling distance, tunneling gap


Controlled motion at the nanoscale is an emerging avenue for low powered electronics. The necessity for precision at the nanoscale makes organic
chemistry an exciting addition to electronics, as organic synthesis is
based upon the design and creation of nanoscale and sub-nanoscale
structures. We have recently demonstrated the role of organic materials in
the development of a nanoelectromechanical (NEM) switch that operates by
electromechanical modulation of tunneling current through a switching gap
defined by a few nanometer-thick organic molecular layer sandwiched
between conductive contacts [1]. In this device, the molecular layer not
only facilitates controlled formation of nanoscale switching gaps, but
also avoids direct contact of the electrodes to minimize surface adhesion
and provides force control at the nanoscale to prevent device failure due
to stiction. Recent work has focused on the compression of the molecular
layer by an applied electrostatic force between the two electrodes to
reduce the tunneling gap. However, we envision next generation devices can
contain advanced materials, which undergo electrochemically stimulated
shape changes to modulate the tunneling distance and current. In order to
achieve large current on-off ratios, the molecules must be capable of
producing significant changes in dimension or shape upon electrical
stimuli. Herein, we report a few examples of electromechanically actuating