Single Molecule Electromechanical Devices

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Friday, September 30, 1322 Storer, 12:10pm-1:00pm

Speaker: Joshua Hihath
Assistant Professor, UC Davis ECE


In recent years impressive progress has been made in the study and understanding of the electronic properties of molecular devices. 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 single-molecule electronic devices such as Field Effect Transistors (FETs), 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. The intimate interplay between the electrical and mechanical properties of molecular systems can lead to unique electromechanical effects, and as such, these systems can exhibit functionalities that are not typically found in ordinary semiconductor devices. Several examples of these unique electromechanical systems will be discussed including strain-induced resonant tunneling, mechanical control of the coupling of molecular orbitals to metal electrodes, the electrical excitation of mechanical resonances, and the effects of current rectification on molecular vibration and heating in these systems.


Joshua HihathJoshua Hihath is an Assistant Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of California Davis. He previously worked as 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 and molecular systems, with an emphasis on developing new ways controlling energy transport and conversion in these systems.