Fabrication and Applications of a Focused Ion Beam Based Nanocontact Platform for Electrical Characterization of Molecules and Particles

Sammanfattning: The development of new materials with novel properties plays an important role in improving our lives and welfare. Research in Nanotechnology can provide e.g. cheaper and smarter materials in applications such as energy storage and sensors. In order for this development to proceed, we need to be able to characterize the material properties at the nano-, and even the atomic scale. The ultimate goal is to be able to tailor them according to our needs. One of the great challenges concerning the characterization of nano-sized objects is how to achieve the physical contact to them. This thesis is focused on the contacting of nanoobjects with the aim of electrically characterizing them and subsequently understanding their electrical properties. The analyzed nanoobjects are carbon nanosheets, nanotetrapods, nanoparticles and molecular systems. Two contacting strategies were employed in this thesis. The first strategy involved the development of a focused ion beam (FIB) based nanocontact platform. The platform consists of gold nanoelectrodes, having nanogaps of 10-30 nm, on top of an insulating substrate. Gold nanoparticles, double-stranded DNA and cadmium telluride nanotetrapods have been trapped in the gaps by using dielectrophoresis. In certain studies, the gold electrodes have also been coated with conducting or non-conducting molecules, prior to the trapping of gold nanoparticles, in order to form molecular junctions. These junctions were subsequently electrically characterized to evaluate the conduction properties of these molecular systems. For the purpose of better controlling the attachment of molecules to the nanoelectrodes, a novel route to synthesize alkanedithiol coated gold nanoparticles was developed. The second contacting strategy was based on the versatility of the FIB instrument as a platform for in-situ manipulation and electrical characterization of non-functionalized and functionalized carbon nanosheets, where it was found that the functionalized samples had an increased conductivity by more than one order of magnitude. Both contacting strategies proved to be valuable for building knowledge around contacting and electrical characterization of nanoobjects