Bernal Seminar by Professor Paul J. Low, University of Western Australia

Tuesday, 26 February, 12h00, MSG-025 MSSI Building Extension

Metal Complexes and Moore


As component dimensions decrease in response to ‘Moore’s Law’ there is an unavoidable point at which the essential ‘band’ properties of the solid state gives way to discrete molecular orbital levels, and quantum tunneling through these nm-sized features results in a loss in electronic function. To this end, increasing attention is being turned to the potential roles that molecules may play as active components in electronic device structures, giving rise to the field of molecular electronics. This presentation will summarise recent work concerning the design and synthesis of metal complexes able to serve the roles of wire-like components.1 The behaviour of metal complexes within STM-based break-junctions will be described, with interpretations supported by computational models. Issues of particular interest will include the surface binding groups,2 the design of ‘insulated’ molecular wires,3 and the ‘gated’ response of single molecule junctions,4 and the challenges of assembling a ‘top electrode’ onto a monolayer film of active molecular components.5-7


  1. Milan, D. C.; Vezzoli, A.; Planje, I. J.; Low, P. J., Dalton Trans 2018, 47, 14125-14138.
  2. Bock, S.; Al-Owaedi, O. A.; Eaves, S. G.; Milan, D. C.; Lemmer, M.; Skelton, B. W.; Osorio, H. M.; Nichols, R. J.; Higgins, S. J.; Cea, P.; Long, N. J.; Albrecht, T.; Martin, S.; Lambert, C. J.; Low, P. J., Chem-Eur J 2017, 23, 2133-2143.
  3. Al-Owaedi, O. A.; Bock, S.; Milan, D. C.; Oerthel, M. C.; Inkpen, M. S.; Yufit, D. S.; Sobolev, A. N.; Long, N. J.; Albrecht, T.; Higgins, S. J.; Bryce, M. R.; Nichols, R. J.; Lambert, C. J.; Low, P. J., Nanoscale 2017, 9, 9902-9912.
  4. Osorio, H. M.; Catarelli, S.; Cea, P.; Gluyas, J. B. G.; Hartl, F.; Higgins, S. J.; Leary, E.; Low, P. J.; Martin, S.; Nichols, R. J.; Tory, J.; Ulstrup, J.; Vezzoli, A.; Milan, D. C.; Zeng, Q., J Am Chem Soc 2015, 137, 14319-14328.
  5. Moneo, A.; Gonzalez-Orive, A.; Bock, S.; Fenero, M.; Herrer, I. L.; Milan, D. C.; Lorenzoni, M.; Nichols, R. J.; Cea, P.; Perez-Murano, F.; Low, P. J.; Martin, S., Nanoscale 2018, 10, 14128-14138.
  6. Sangiao, S.; Martin, S.; Gonzalez-Orive, A.; Magen, C.; Low, P. J.; de Teresa, J. M.; Cea, P., Small 2017, 13, 1603207.
  7. Herrer, L.; Sebastian, V.; Martin, S.; Gonzalez-Orive, A.; Perez-Murano, F.; Low, P. J.; Serrano, J. L.; Santamaria, J.; Cea, P., Nanoscale 2017, 9, 13281-13290.


After degrees from the University of Adelaide (PhD 1997, supervisor Professor Michael Bruce), Paul was awarded a Canadian Government Laboratories Visiting Fellowship (1997-1999) to undertake postdoctoral work at the National Research Council’s Steacie Institute for Molecular Sciences with Professor Arthur Carty. He was subsequently appointed to a Lectureship in the Department of Chemistry, Durham University (UK), being promoted to Reader (2006) and Professor (2010). In 2013 Paul was recruited to the University of Western Australia where he now serves as Professor of Chemistry and Deputy Head of the School of Molecular Sciences.

Paul’s work is defined by the combination of target-directed synthetic chemistry and the concerted application of physical methods to the problems of rationalising electronic structure in molecular systems.  Key techniques and competencies of the group include synthetic chemistry (organic, inorganic, organometallic), electrochemistry and spectroelectrochemistry, and quantum chemical calculations.  Current projects in the Low group are derived from overlapping interests in the chemistry of metal complexes containing all-carbon and carbon-rich ligands, redox chemistry and electron-transfer processes, and molecular electronics. Paul’s work has been recognised with the award of major research fellowships from the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (Leadership Fellowship, 2009-2013) and the Australian Research Council (Future Fellowship, 2013-2017), and a Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award from the Alexander von Humbolt Foundation (2015).

DATE:                    Tuesday, 26 February 2019

TIME:                    12h00

VENUE:                MSG-025 MSSI Building Extension

Tea/coffee will be available at 11h45

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