Electric-field-driven dual-functional molecular switches in tunnel junctions Academic Article uri icon


  • To avoid crosstalk and suppress leakage currents in resistive random access memories (RRAMs), a resistive switch and a current rectifier (diode) are usually combined in series in a one diode-one resistor (1D-1R) RRAM. However, this complicates the design of next-generation RRAM, increases the footprint of devices and increases the operating voltage as the potential drops over two consecutive junctions1. Here, we report a molecular tunnel junction based on molecules that provide an unprecedented dual functionality of diode and variable resistor, resulting in a molecular-scale 1D-1R RRAM with a current rectification ratio of 2.5 × 104 and resistive on/off ratio of 6.7 × 103, and a low drive voltage of 0.89 V. The switching relies on dimerization of redox units, resulting in hybridization of molecular orbitals accompanied by directional ion migration. This electric-field-driven molecular switch operating in the tunnelling regime enables a class of molecular devices where multiple electronic functions are preprogrammed inside a single molecular layer with a thickness of only 2 nm.


  • Han, Y
  • Nickle, C
  • Zhang, Z
  • Astier, HPAG
  • Duffin, TJ
  • Qi, Dongchen
  • Wang, Z
  • del Barco, E
  • Thompson, D
  • Nijhuis, CA

publication date

  • 2020