Enhanced Electron Transport in Nonconjugated Radical Oligomers Occurs by Tunneling

Ying Tan, Jialing Li, Songsong Li, Hao Yang, Teng Chi, Stephen B. Shiring, Kangying Liu, Brett M. Savoie, Bryan W. Boudouris, Charles M. Schroeder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Incorporating temperature- and air-stable organic radical species into molecular designs is a potentially advantageous means of controlling the properties of electronic materials. However, we still lack a complete understanding of the structure-property relationships of organic radical species at the molecular level. In this work, the charge transport properties of (2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidin-1-yl)oxyl (TEMPO) radical-containing nonconjugated molecules are studied using single-molecule charge transport experiments and molecular modeling. Importantly, the TEMPO pendant groups promote temperature-independent molecular charge transport in the tunneling region relative to the quenched and closed-shell phenyl pendant groups. Results from molecular modeling show that the TEMPO radicals interact with the gold metal electrodes near the interface to facilitate a high-conductance conformation. Overall, the large enhancement of charge transport by incorporation of open-shell species into a single nonconjugated molecular component opens exciting avenues for implementing molecular engineering in the development of next-generation electronic devices based on novel nonconjugated radical materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5951-5958
Number of pages8
JournalNano letters
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 12 2023


  • nonconjugated radical electronics
  • open-shell molecules
  • scanning tunneling microscope−break junction (STM-BJ)
  • single-molecule charge transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Bioengineering
  • General Materials Science


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