SCANNING PROBE MICROSCOPY

We currently have three SPMs, all equipped to perform single-molecule conductance measurements. Our instruments are built by Keysight Technologies (formerly Agilent) and they have been modified with custom preamplifiers and 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 in Bristol University (Prof. W. Schwarzacher) uses both tunnelling and conductive atomic force probes. We have modules to perform measurements under controlled atmosphere, electrochemical environment and at high temperature.

INSTRUMENTATION

Keysight Technologies 5500 SPM
Keysight Technologies 5500 SPM (Picoplus II Controller)
Keysight Technologies 4500 SPM (Picoscan Controller)

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.