Sub-5 nm metallic hafnium diboride (HfB2) nanostructures were directly written onto Si(100)-2 × 1:H surfaces using ultrahigh vacuum scanning tunneling microscope (UHV-STM) electron beam induced deposition (EBID) of a carbon-free precursor molecule, tetrakis(tetrahydroborato)hafnium, Hf(BH4)4. Scanning tunneling spectroscopy data confirm the metallic nature of the HfB2 nanostructures, which have been written down to lateral dimensions of 2.5 nm. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of sub-5 nm metallic nanostructures in an STM-EBID experiment.
Many types of molecular motors have been proposed and synthesized in recent years, displaying different kinds of motion, and fueled by different driving forces such as light, heat, or chemical reactions. We propose a new type of molecular motor based on electric field actuation and electric current detection of the rotational motion of a molecular dipole embedded in a three-terminal single-molecule device. The key aspect of this all-electronic design is the conjugated backbone of the molecule, which simultaneously provides the potential landscape of the rotor orientation and a real-time measure of that orientation through the modulation of the conductivity. Using quantum chemistry calculations, we show that this approach provides full control over the speed and continuity of motion, thereby combining electrical and mechanical control at the molecular level over a wide range of temperatures. Moreover, chemistry can be used to change all key parameters of the device, enabling a variety of new experiments on molecular motors.