Latha Venkataraman


Tel(212) 854-1786

Latha Venkataraman and her group measure the fundamental properties of single molecule devices, seeking to understand the interplay of physics, chemistry, and engineering at the nanometer scale. The underlying focus of her research is to fabricate single molecule circuits, a molecule attached to two electrodes, with varied functionality, where the circuit structure is defined with atomic precision. She measures electronic conduction, single bond breaking forces, thermoelectric and electrochemical properties of these devices. Her interdisciplinary and collaborative research, working together with synthetic chemist and theory groups, provides a deeper understanding of the fundamental physics of electron transport, while laying the groundwork for technological advances at the nanometer scale. Besides advancing the field of nanoscale electronics, her work has also broadened understanding of charge transfer at metal/organic interfaces which has impact on the fields of organic electronics, photovoltaics, catalysis, and charge transfer processes in biological systems.

Research Interests

Single-Molecule Electronics, scanning tunneling microscopy, atomic force microscopy, nanoscale transport, electrochemistry, photoconduction, x-ray photoemission spectroscopy

Research Areas

Latha Venkataraman received her Bachelor’s degree in Physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1993 where she did her undergraduate thesis with Prof. Mildred Dresselhaus.  She then moved to Harvard University and obtained her Ph. D. in 1999 working under the guidance of Prof. Charles Lieber. She worked as a research scientist at Vytran Corporation from 1999 to 2002. In 2003, she joined Columbia University as a research scientist. She started her independent career as an assistant professor in the Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics at Columbia University in 2007. She is currently Professor of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics and holds a joint appointment with the Department of Chemistry. 

Research Experience

  • Research Scientist, Vytran Corporation, 1999-2002
  • Research Scientist, Columbia University, 2003-2007

Professional Experience

  • Professor of Applied Physics, Columbia University, 2016-present
  • Professor of Chemistry, Columbia University, 2016-present
  • Associate Professor of Applied Physics, Columbia University, 2011–2016
  • Assistant Professor of Applied Physics, Columbia University, 2007–2011

Professional Affiliations

  • American Physical Society
  • American Chemical Society

Honors & Awards

  • Fellow, American Physical Society, 2016
  • Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship in Chemistry, 2011
  • Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering, 2008
  • NSF Career Award, 2008

Selected Publications

  • E-D. Fung, O. Adak, G. Lovat, D. Scarabelli, L. Venkataraman, Too Hot for Photon-Assisted Transport: Hot-Electrons Dominate Conductance Enhancement in Illuminated Single-Molecule JunctionsNano Letters, 17, 1255−1261 (2017).
  • H. Li, N. Kim, T. Su, M. L.  Steigerwald, C. Nuckolls, P. Darancet, J. Leighton, L. Venkataraman, Mechanism for Si—Si Bond Rupture in Single Molecule Junctions, JACS, 138 (49), pp 16159–16164 (2016).
  • O. Adak, G. Kladnik, G. Bavdek, A. Cossaro, A. Morgante, D. Cvetko, L. Venkataraman, Ultrafast Bidirectional Charge Transport and Electron Decoherence At Molecule/Surfaces Interfaces: A Comparison of Gold, Graphene and Graphene Nanoribbon Surfaces, Nano Letters, 15, 8316−8321 (2015).
  • B. Capozzi, J. Xia, O. Adak, E. Dell, Z. Liu, J.C. Taylor, J. B. Neaton, L. Campos and L. Venkataraman, Single-Molecule Diodes with High Rectification Ratios through Environmental Control, Nature Nanotechnology, 10, 522-527 (2015).
  • E.J. Dell, B. Capozzi, J. Xia, L. Venkataraman, L. M. Campos, Molecular Length Dictates the Nature of Charge Carriers in Single-Molecule Junctions, Nature Chemistry, 7, 209–214 (2015).
  • T. Su, H. Li, M. L. Steigerwald, L. Venkataraman, C. Nuckolls, Stereoelectronic Switching in Single-Molecule Junctions, Nature Chemistry, 7, 215–220 (2015).
  • S. V. Aradhya and L. Venkataraman, Single-Molecule Junctions Beyond Electronic Transport, Invited Review, Nature Nanotechnology 8, 399–410 (2013).
  • S. V. Aradhya, M. Frei, M.S. Hybertsen, L. Venkataraman, Van der Waals Interactions in Metal-Organic Interfaces at the Single-Molecule Level, Nature Materials, 11, 872-876, (2012).
  • Z-L Cheng, R. Skouta, H. Vazquez, J. R. Widawsky, S. Schneebeli, W. Chen, M.S. Hybertsen, R.Breslow, L.Venkataraman, In situ Formation of Highly Conducting, Covalent Au-C Contacts for Single Molecule Transport, Nature Nanotechnology, 6, 353-357, (2011).
  • L. Venkataraman, J.E. Klare, C. Nuckolls, M.S. Hybertsen and M. L. Steigerwald, Dependence of Single Molecule Junction Conductance on Molecular Conformation, Nature, vol. 442, p904-907, 2006.