Molecular Electronics: Transport, Devices, and Applications

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Wednesday, April 27, 1065 Kemper Hall, 11:00am-12:00pm

Speaker: Joshua Hihath
Assistant Research Professor, The Biodesign Institute, Arizona State University

Host: Professor Richard Kiehl


Impressive progress has been made in molecular electronics in recent years; significant advances have yielded methods for contacting and measuring a single molecule, and robust statistical techniques have been developed to clearly identify the conductance of a single molecule. With these important achievements, it has become possible to study fundamental aspects of charge transport in systems which consist of only a few atoms, and to demonstrate novel molecular electronic devices such as Field Effect Transistors, diodes, and wires. However, molecules also represent a unique class of materials which are inherently quantum mechanical in nature, possess electromechanical resonances at THz frequencies, and cross boundaries between traditional disciplines. Therefore, it is important to explore the utility of single molecule devices for developing a more comprehensive understanding of energy conversion in nanoscale systems, and exploring applications where the ability to contact and measure a single molecule has distinct advantages, such as for biology and sensing functions. In this talk, I will outline the techniques and methods used for contacting and measuring the electrical properties of a single molecule, and discuss how molecular systems can be designed to provide direct analogs to classical electronic devices. I will also demonstrate the utility of these techniques for exploring electron- phonon interactions and power dissipation at the molecular scale and measuring modifications to biologically relevant molecules such as DNA.


Joshua HihathJoshua Hihath is currently an Assistant Research Professor in the Center for Bioelectronics and Biosensors at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University. He received a B.S. with distinction in Electrical Engineering from Kettering University in Flint, Michigan, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Arizona State University. During his graduate studies he received a National Science Foundation Fellowship focused on Biomolecular Nanotechnology via the Integrated Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT) program, and received the prestigious Achievement Reward for College Scientists (ARCS) in both 2006 and 2007 for his work on the electrical detection of DNA mutations. His work focuses on understanding the electrical and mechanical properties of nanoscale, molecular systems and using this knowledge for developing tools and applications where the ability to contact, measure, and control single molecules provides advantages for detection or diagnosis.