PerspectiveMaterials Science

Expanding the Molecular Electronics Toolbox

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Science  01 Jul 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5731, pp. 67-68
DOI: 10.1126/science.1114663

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Molecular electronics aims to build functional devices on the scale of individual molecules. The development of such devices requires accurate measurement and control of the electronic properties of individual molecules; in practice, this means that electrical "leads" must be attached to two ends of a molecule. In their Perspective, Martin and Baker highlight a highly successful approach toward facilitating such measurements. The method, called on-wire lithography, is reported by Qin et al. and yields nanowires with a gap into which a molecule can in principle be inserted. The method allows the size of the gap to be controlled with high accuracy, removing one obstacle to accurate single-molecule electrical measurements.