Quantum Effects in Porphyrin Nanostructures.

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Henrik Gottfredsen


DKK 350,000




Internationalisation Fellowships


The project is about trying to understand and control quantum phenomena related to charge transport in molecules. On a macroscopic level, when electricity passes through wires this is charge transport and it occurs predictably according to laws well-established in classical physics. However, if a wire is shrunk to the size of single molecules, it starts exhibiting intriguing quantum effects that alter the nature of how charge is being transported through the wire. For example, significantly enhanced or decreased charge transport can be observed in single-molecule wires with no similar counterpart in their macroscopic analogs. This project seeks to study these quantum effects in nanometer-sized molecular wires based on porphyrin building blocks.


This project is closely connected to the field of molecular electronics - where the ultimate goal is to build electronic circuits from single molecules. If such miniaturization can be achieved with the same level of reproducibility as contemporary silicon-based electronic components, this would have tremendous impact on the evolution of technology. Developing fundamental understanding about charge transport in single-molecules is therefore important, as it is part of learning about the properties of the building blocks at hand. In addition, charge transport is a ubiquitous phenomenon in nature: perhaps the most well-known example being photosynthesis. Results from this project could therefore potentially lead to new insights related to other phenomena where charge transport is involved.


The project will be carried out in the research group of Professor Harry L. Anderson at the University of Oxford. It is going to involve organic synthesis and experimental studies of the porphyrin wires. To study charge transport, the porphyrin wires will be subjected to single-molecule conductance experiments in which they are positioned in a gap between two electrodes to form a bridge. When a voltage-bias is applied between the electrodes, a current can run through the molecular wire. Through synthesis, systematic variations will be made in the porphyrin wires to probe quantum effects in charge transport and reveal structure-function relationships from the conductance measurements.

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