LNNano - Brazilian Nanotechnology National Laboratory

Nanoscale Variable-Area Electronic Devices: Contact Mechanics and Hypersensitive Pressure Application

Leandro Merces, Rafael Furlan de Oliveira, and Carlos César Bof Bufon†,*

 Brazilian Nanotechnology National Laboratory (LNNano), Brazilian Center for Research in Energy and Materials (CNPEM), 13083-970, Campinas, SP, Brazil

*corresponding author: cesar.bof@lnnano.cnpem.br

Nanomembranes (NMs) are freestanding structures with few-nanometer thicknesses and lateral dimensions up to the microscale. In nanoelectronics, NMs have been used to promote reliable electrical contacts with distinct nanomaterials – such as molecules, quantum dots, and nanowires – as well as to support the comprehension of the condensed matter down to the nanoscale. With this work we propose a tunable device architecture that is capable of deterministically changing both the contact geometry and the current injection in nanoscale electronic junctions. The tunable device is based on hybrid arrangements that join metallic NMs and molecular ensembles, resulting in a versatile, mechanically compliant element. Such features allow the devices to accommodate the mechanical stimuli enlarging the active injection areas without compromising the molecules. A model derived from the Hertzian mechanics is employed to correlate the contact dynamics with the electronic transport in these novel devices denominated as variable-area transport junctions (VATJs). As a proof-of-concept, a direct application of the VATJs as hypersensitive pressure pixels was demonstrated. Regarding sensitivity, the VATJ-based transducers constitute a breakthrough in nanoelectronics, with the prospect of carrying its sister-field of molecular electronics out of the lab via integrative, hybrid organic/inorganic nanoarchitectonics.

This work was carried out by L. Merces, R.F. de Oliveira, and C.C. Bof Bufon. It is published in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, volume 10, issue 45 (November 14th, 2018 – doi: 10.1021/acsami.8b12212). The authors acknowledge CNPq (153282/2018-5), FAPESP (processes 2014/25979-2 and 2013/22127-2), CAPES, and SISNANO for the financial support.