Advances in single-molecule junctions as tools for chemical and biochemical analysis

Essam M. Dief, Paul J. Low, Ismael Díez-Pérez, Nadim Darwish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The development of miniaturized electronics has led to the design and construction of powerful experimental platforms capable of measuring electronic properties to the level of single molecules, along with new theoretical concepts to aid in the interpretation of the data. A new area of activity is now emerging concerned with repurposing the tools of molecular electronics for applications in chemical and biological analysis. Single-molecule junction techniques, such as the scanning tunnelling microscope break junction and related single-molecule circuit approaches have a remarkable capacity to transduce chemical information from individual molecules, sampled in real time, to electrical signals. In this Review, we discuss single-molecule junction approaches as emerging analytical tools for the chemical and biological sciences. We demonstrate how these analytical techniques are being extended to systems capable of probing chemical reaction mechanisms. We also examine how molecular junctions enable the detection of RNA, DNA, and traces of proteins in solution with limits of detection at the zeptomole level. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)600-614
Number of pages15
JournalNature Chemistry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2023


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