SCANNING PROBE MICROSCOPY

We currently have four SPMs, all equipped to perform different types of single-molecule conductance measurements. Our instruments are built by Keysight Technologies (formerly Agilent/MI) and they have been modified with custom preamplifiers, arbitrary waveform generators and high-speed data acquisition boards to suit our needs. We can investigate charge transport across molecular wires in the window between 10-8 and 102 G0 depending on the instrument and the technique. Our techniques and instrumentations, developed with our collaborators from the University of Bristol (Prof. W. Schwarzacher) uses both tunnelling and conductive atomic force probes. We have modules to perform measurements under controlled atmosphere, electrochemical environment, laser illumination and at high temperature.

INSTRUMENTATION

Keysight Technologies 5500 High-Bandwidth SPM
    - Keysight N9613A Controller
Keysight Technologies 5500 SPM
    - Keysight N9410S Controller
    - Keysight N9477A Break-Out Box
    - Keysight 33522B 30 Mhz Function Generator
    - Femto DLPCA-200 Current Amplifier
    - National Instruments PXIe-4464 Signal Acquisition Module
Keysight Technologies 5500 SPM
    - MI-PicoSPM II Controller
    - Custom 4-channel Current Preamplifier
    - National Instruments NI-9215 Signal Acquisition Module
Keysight Technologies 2500 SPM (Former MI PicoSPM I)

MOLECULAR WIRES SYNTHESIS

Chemical synthesis in our research group is at the heart of our vision. Using a broad range of classical synthetic chemistry and novel cross-coupling techniques we synthesise the molecular wires used in our single molecule conductance measurements, tailoring the final product to our needs. We use a variety of anchoring groups to attach the molecules to the metal electrodes in the STM (pyridyl, thiols, amines, trimethylsilyl, etc) and perform thorough purification and characterisation of synthesised compounds (NMR, HRMS, CHN, etc.) prior to use.

Our laboratories are fully equipped to perform reactions in air-free or moisture-free conditions, thus expanding the range of molecular wires we can prepare.

Electrochemistry

Better understanding of electrochemical process occurring at surfaces is important in the field of molecular electronics, and it is of paramount importance when an electrochemical gate effect is expected, for example in transition metal-containing or redox-active molecular wires.

We also worked in partnership with the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation to characterise surface properties of unusual electrodes, such as carbon felts, that can be used in energy storage technology.