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Bias-Polarity-Dependent Direct and Inverted Marcus Charge Transport Affecting Rectification in a Redox-Active Molecular Junction

AuthorsHan, Yingmei; Nickle, Cameron; Maglione, Maria Serena; Karuppannan, Senthil Kumar; Casado Montenegro, Javier; Qi, Dong-Chen; Chen, Xiaoping; Tadich, Anton; Cowie, Bruce; Mas Torrent, Marta CSIC ORCID; Rovira, Concepció CSIC ORCID; Cornil, Jérôme; Veciana, Jaume CSIC ORCID CVN; Barco, Enrique del; Nijhuis, Christian A.
KeywordsCharge transport
Inverted Marcus region
Molecular diodes
Molecular tunnel junctions
Issue Date19-Jun-2021
CitationAdvanced Science: 10.1002/advs.202100055 (2021)
AbstractThis paper describes the transition from the normal to inverted Marcus region in solid-state tunnel junctions consisting of self-assembled monolayers of benzotetrathiafulvalene (BTTF), and how this transition determines the performance of a molecular diode. Temperature-dependent normalized differential conductance analyses indicate the participation of the HOMO (highest occupied molecular orbital) at large negative bias, which follows typical thermally activated hopping behavior associated with the normal Marcus regime. In contrast, hopping involving the HOMO dominates the mechanism of charge transport at positive bias, yet it is nearly activationless indicating the junction operates in the inverted Marcus region. Thus, within the same junction it is possible to switch between Marcus and inverted Marcus regimes by changing the bias polarity. Consequently, the current only decreases with decreasing temperature at negative bias when hopping is “frozen out,” but not at positive bias resulting in a 30-fold increase in the molecular rectification efficiency. These results indicate that the charge transport in the inverted Marcus region is readily accessible in junctions with redox molecules in the weak coupling regime and control over different hopping regimes can be used to improve junction performance.
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