Large-Area, Ensemble Molecular Electronics: Motivation and Challenges

Ayelet Vilan, Dinesh Aswal, David Cahen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

302 Scopus citations


We review charge transport across molecular monolayers, which is central to molecular electronics (MolEl), using large-area junctions (NmJ). We strive to provide a wide conceptual overview of three main subtopics. First, a broad introduction places NmJ in perspective to related fields of research and to single-molecule junctions (1mJ) in addition to a brief historical account. As charge transport presents an ultrasensitive probe for the electronic perfection of interfaces, in the second part ways to form both the monolayer and the contacts are described to construct reliable, defect-free interfaces. The last part is dedicated to understanding and analyses of current-voltage (I-V) traces across molecular junctions. Notwithstanding the original motivation of MolEl, I-V traces are often not very sensitive to molecular details and then provide a poor probe for chemical information. Instead, we focus on how to analyze the net electrical performance of molecular junctions, from a functional device perspective. Finally, we point to creation of a built-in electric field as a key to achieve functionality, including nonlinear current-voltage characteristics that originate in the molecules or their contacts to the electrodes. This review is complemented by a another review that covers metal-molecule-semiconductor junctions and their unique hybrid effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4248-4286
Number of pages39
JournalChemical Reviews
Issue number5
StatePublished - 8 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Chemical Society.


We thank our colleagues with whom we worked to understand (Bio)Molecular Charge Transport last May at the Weizmann Institute, and, in addition, our Weizmann colleagues Leeor Kronik and Omer Yaffe, as well as Antoine Kahn (Princeton) and Nobuo Ueno (Chiba/London) for fruitful discussions. We are grateful to the Kimmel Centre for Nanoscale Science and the GMJ Schmidt Minerva Centre for Supramolecular Architecture, and to the Israel Science Foundation, ISF, through its Centre of Excellence programs, for partial support. This work was made possible, in part, by the historic generosity of the Harold Perlman family. D.C. holds the Sylvia and Rowland Schaefer Chair in Energy Research.

FundersFunder number
Kimmel Centre for Nanoscale Science
Nobuo Ueno
Israel Science Foundation


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