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Negative differential resistance in the scanning-tunneling spectroscopy of organic molecules

Phys. Rev. B 59, R7852(R) – Published 15 March 1999
Yongqiang Xue, Supriyo Datta, Seunghun Hong, R. Reifenberger, Jason I. Henderson, and Clifford P. Kubiak


In the interpretation of scanning-tunneling spectroscopy data on molecular nanostructures the tunneling conductance is often assumed to be proportional to the local density of states of the molecule. This precludes the possibility of observing negative differential resistance (NDR). We report here the observation of NDR in the current-voltage (I-V) characteristics of a self-assembled monolayer of 4-p-terphenylthiol molecules on the Au(111) surface measured using a platinum tip. We argue that the NDR arises from narrow features in the local density of states of the tip apex atom and show that depending on the electrostatic potential profile across the system, NDR could be observed in one or both bias directions.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevB.59.R7852

  • Received 25 September 1998
  • Published in the issue dated 15 March 1999

© 1999 The American Physical Society

Authors & Affiliations

Yongqiang Xue and Supriyo Datta

  • School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907

Seunghun Hong and R. Reifenberger

  • Department of Physics, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907

Jason I. Henderson and Clifford P. Kubiak

  • Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093

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