Simon Fraser University

Recent Research Highlights of the SFU Nanophysics Theory Group

Kirczenow Research Group


Scanning tunneling microscope images of a chain of molecules on a silicon surface. The chain runs from the top left to the bottom right of each image. Electric current through the molecules at the center of the chain (indicated by the arrow in the left image) is switched on in the left image. The current is switched off by the electric fields emanating from the molecules in the image on the right where these molecules are dark.


The possibility of combining the advantages of single-molecule nanoelectronics (ultra-small size and novel properties of single-molecule devices) with those of established silicon technology is very appealing but the required basic science is only beginning to be explored. Our most recent theoretical work on this topic (in collaboration with experimentalists Paul Piva and Bob Wolkow at U. of Alberta) has shown that electric fields emanating from molecules on a silicon surface can be used to control electrical conduction through nearby molecules and through the underlying silicon. To read an explanation of the significance of this research written for the general public click here and scroll down to the story Controlling Current on the Nanoscale.

Read the Article

Nonlocal conductance modulation by molecules: scanning tunneling microscopy of substituted styrene heterostructures on H-Terminated Si(100)

P. G. Piva, R. A. Wolkow and G. Kirczenow

Phys. Rev. Lett. 101, 106801 (2008).