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Molecular Electronics


Admission Requirements none


The course introduces the conductance properties of molecular systems, quantum systems in nature, and state-of-the-art research on this topic. There is an emphasis on metal/single-molecule/metal junctions, but organic film devices are also treated. Since this interdisciplinary course has a clear chemical component, several lectures are given by guest lecturers with a chemistry background. The course consists of lectures with weekly exercises, and, later in the course, interactive discussions on recent scientific articles in the field.
This is a joint Delft-Leiden course. In 2019, the lectures will be given in Leiden. Part of the course is given by guest lecturers.

Course load total (hrs): 50 (excl. self-study)
Lectures (hrs): 28
Literature study and Problem solving (hrs): 19
Assessment (hrs): 3

Course Objectives

This course aims to convey knowledge of quantum charge transport physics and organic chemistry to gain insight in the vivid field of molecular electronics. Students should be able to critically read and interpret scientific papers in this field by the end of the course. Key topics will hence be:

  • Molecular structure, sigma- and pi-bonds, tight binding method

  • Quantum charge transport in molecules, Landauer description

  • Electron-phonon coupling in molecular junctions

  • Theoretical methods (DFT, Hartree-Fock, Born-Oppenheimer approximation)

  • Molecular functionality

  • Experimental techniques for single-molecular conductance

  • Molecular switching

  • Molecular spin transport


Physics Schedule

Mode of instruction

Lectures and group discussions on relevant scientific articles (to be read beforehand by the students). Every week, the students are required to solve a set of problems, which are corrected and handed back the week after.

Assessment method

Written examination with open problems.


Blackboard and/or other closed environments are used to provide the students with notes/slides and scientific articles.
To have access to Blackboard you need a ULCN-account.Blackboard UL

Reading list

Molecular electronics: an introduction to theory and experiment, by Juan Carlos Cuevas and Elke Scheer (World Scientific)
Additional lectures notes/slides and scientific papers on Blackboard



Name: Prof.dr. J.M. van Ruitenbeek (Jan)
Section: Quantum Matter & Optics
Group: Atomic and Molecular Conductors van Ruitenbeek
Phone: +31 (0)71 527 5450
Location: Oort, room 157

Name: S.J. van der Molen (Sense Jan)
Section: Quantum Matter & Optics
Group: Van der Molen
Phone: +31 (0)71 527 5461
Location: Oort, room 165


Prof. Dr. Ir. H.S.J. van der Zant
Herre van der Zant
Room F286
Phone: 31 15 278 7733