Professor Richard Nichols
Measurement of the electrical properties of single molecules sandwiched between metal contacts has recently become an experimental reality. In recent years, we have developed and exploited novel scanning-tunneling-microscopy (STM) methods, named I(s) method for achieving this feat. In our methods, a gold substrate is coated with a low-coverage monolayer of molecules bearing two terminal thiol moieties, which interact strongly with gold. A gold STM tip is employed, and in the course of the experiments, one (or a few) molecule(s) forms a junction between tip and substrate. The tip is brought close to the surface (without making contact), then withdrawn while the junction conductance is measured. Using this method and a related method (the I(t) technique) we have made several landmark findings in this high-profile area. Some of the following key issues affecting single molecule conductance will be discussed during the seminar.
Professor Richard J. Nichols obtained a Ph.D from the Southampton University, UK in 1988. He is a Fellow of the International Society of Electrochemistry (2008) and a full professor in the University of Liverpool since 2006. His work has significantly contributed to the further understanding of a range of important electrochemical processes, particularly in the areas of fundamental electrochemistry, electrocatalysis and electrodeposition. He is perhaps best known in the electrochemical community for his pioneering in-situ electrochemical scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) work, which has been arguably the most significant new technique in electrochemistry in the last three decades. He has published more than 150 peer-reviewed journals, including Nature Nanotechnology, Nano letters, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Angewandte Chemie-International Edition etc.