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Making electrical contact to single molecules

W. Fritzsche*, E. Ermantraut, H. Porwol, J.M. Koeumlhler

Institute of Physical High Technology

This is an abstract for a poster to be presented at the Fifth Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology.

We are interested in the characterization of the electron transport through single (bio)molecules. A prerequisite for electrical measurements is the contacting of molecules in the nanometer range, which was accomplished by two different approaches.

The first approach is based on statistically distributed molecules, which were visualized by scanning force microscopy prior to structuring of electrodes by means of electron beam deposition or electron resist technique. The structured nanoelectrodes were characterized by scanning force microscopy and electrical measurements.

Another approach for contacting includes the binding of one end of the molecules to an electrode followed by an induced orientation of the molecule toward the second electrode. A thiol-biotinylated gold surface was used as a substrate. We used a wet-masking technique which we call micro offset printing in the case when multiple alignment steps lead to synthetic structures. The parts of the substrate to be protected were covered by an elastomeric mask and were therefore not accessible for activation reagents. The surface density of the desired molecules was adjusted by dilution of the active thiol-biotin with an inactive component, and the result was monitored by contact angle measurements. An induced orientation of biomolecules was accomplished using flow adsorption or a receding meniscus.

*Corresponding Address:
Wolfgang Fritzsche, Institute for Physical High Technology, Jena, P.O. Box 100 239, 07702 Jena, Germany, ph: +49 3641 657744, fax: +49 3641 657700,
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