Transition from Tunneling to Hopping Transport in Long, Conjugated Oligo-imine Wires Connected to Metals

Seong H. Choi, Chad Risko, M. Carmen Ruiz Delgado, Bopasoo Kim, Jean Luc Brédas, C. Daniel Frisbie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

206 Scopus citations


We report the electrical transport characteristics of conjugated ollgonaphthalenefluoreneimine (ONI) wires having systematically varied lengths up to 10 nm. Using aryl imine addition chemistry, ONI wires were built from gold substrates by extending the conjugation length through imine linkages between highly conjugated building blocks of alternating naphthalenes and fluorenes. The resistance and current-voltage characteristics of ONI wires were measured as a function of molecular length, temperature, and electric field using conducting probe atomic force microscopy (CP-AFM). We have observed a transition in direct current (DC) transport from tunneling to hopping near 4 nm as previously established for oligophenylenelmlne (OPI) wires. Furthermore, we have found that long ONI wires are less resistive than OPI wires. The single-wire conductivity of ONI wires Is ∼1.8 ± 0.1 × 10-4 S/cm, a factor of ∼2 greater than that of OPI wires, and consistent with the lower transport activation energy (∼0.58 eV versus 0.65 eV or 13 versus 15 kcal/mol). Quantum chemical calculations reveal that charge Is preferentially localized on the fluorene subunits and that the molecules are substantially twisted. Overall, this work confirms that imine addition chemistry can be used to build molecular wires long enough to probe the hopping transport regime. The versatility of this chemistry, In combination with CP-AFM, opens up substantial opportunities to probe the physical organic chemistry of hopping conduction In long conjugated molecules.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4358-4368
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number12
StatePublished - Mar 31 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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