This CAREER project addresses mechanisms of voltage switching in molecular electronics and their extension to nanoscale opto-electronic devices. The approach is based upon coupling surface plasmons into molecular junctions. Through these experiments, optical and Raman spectra of molecular layers as a function of applied bias are directly observed. The measurements indicate whether mechanisms such as bond torsion, redox chemistry, or mechanical re-arrangements are responsible for bistable current-voltage (IV) switching. Additional activities will address integration of molecular electronic switches into nanoscale plasmon waveguides to control plasmon propagation. Metal-molecule metal waveguides for devices such as electro-optic modulators, optical memories and optical logic circuits will be fabricated and characterized. This research is expected to enhance design of molecules for specific electronic functions, and impact the development of smaller, lower-power consumption computing. %%% The project addresses fundamental research issues in electronic/photonic materials science having technological relevance. In conjunction with the research component, this project will involve a substantial program of education and outreach. The PI will strive to provide exciting and valuable research opportunities for high school, undergraduate, and graduate students. These experiences will be an important supplement to classroom education. In cooperation with the Engineering Diversity Program at Stanford, he will work to attract underrepresented minority students through research opportunities. To enhance the education of local high school students, particularly within historically disadvantaged and underrepresented schools, he has committed to "Adopt a Class," bringing graduate students from Stanford with him into the classroom to give demonstrations and lectures several times a year. He will also integrate teaching and course development to include results from research, and aims to provide fundamental skills needed for successful careers in science and technology. ***

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Materials Research (DMR)
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Z. Charles Ying
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Stanford University
Palo Alto
United States
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