An approach to measure electromechanical properties of atomic and molecular junctions

Ilya V. Pobelov, Gábor Mészáros, Koji Yoshida, Artem Mishchenko, Murat Gulcur, Martin R. Bryce, Thomas Wandlowski

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    25 Citations (Scopus)


    We describe a new setup for simultaneous measurements of force and current in conductive nanocontacts in a liquid environment with a high sampling rate and resolution. A lab-built current-to-voltage converter allows measurements of the current over seven orders of magnitude. As examples, we studied conductances and mechanical forces upon formation and breaking of gold atomic contacts and of two molecular junctions containing 1,2-di(4-pyridyl)ethyne (M1) and 1,4-di(4-pyridyl)buta-1,3-diyne (M2). We found that the forces required to deform or break gold atomic contacts depend critically on the surrounding medium. Further, they show non-linear behaviour in dependence of the number N of gold atoms detached. The electromechanical properties of the two types of molecular junctions upon stretching were analysed by correlating breaking forces with simultaneously measured junction conductances. A rather complex behaviour in a wide range of forces was discovered. Comparison of the current-probe atomic force microscopy experiments on the rupture of molecular junctions with STM-based break junction experiments enables the assignment of breaking forces of molecular junctions to the corresponding junction conductances.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number164210
    JournalJournal of Physics Condensed Matter
    Issue number16
    Publication statusPublished - 2012 Apr 25

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Materials Science(all)
    • Condensed Matter Physics


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