wpiInternational Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics (MANA)


  1. Home
  2. > People
  3. > Christian Joachim

Christian Joachim

Satellite PI
MANA Principal Investigator (PI)


  • CNRS
    • Specialty:

      • Nanoscience and Quantum Engineering
        • Academic degree:

          • PhD in Applied Mathematic (1985)
            PhD in Quantum Physics (1992)

Educational & Research History

2011 - Present
Research Director Fellow at CEMES-CNRS, Toulouse (France)
2009 - Present
Adjunct Professor in Quantum Physics, ISAE-Sup’Aero, Toulouse (France)
2005 - 2014
VPI Atom Technologies IMRE, A*STAR (Singapore)
2005 - Present
Adjunct Professor in Nanoscience and Quantum Enginnering, Sup’Aero, Toulouse (France)
1994 - 2011
Research Director at CEMES-CNRS, Toulouse (France)
PhD in Quantum Physics, University P. Sabatier, Toulouse (France)
1990 - 2008
Assistant Professor (Adjunct) in Quantum Physics, Sup’Aero, Toulouse (France)
1989 - 1994
Chargé de Recherche at CEMES-CNRS, Toulouse (France)
1988 - 1989
Chargé de Recherche CNRS, Laboratoire Chimie des métaux de Transition, Paris VI (France)
1986 - 1988
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow: Single molecule switching with an HV STM, IBM Research Division, IBM Watson Research Center, New York, USA
PhD in Applied Mathematics, Sup’Aero and University P. Sabatier, Toulouse (France)
1983 - 1986
Assistant Professor in Applied Mathématics, Sup’Aero, Toulouse (France)
1982 - 1983
Research Ingenieur, Molecular Electronics, Elf-Aquitaine, Paris (France)
1980 - 1982
Professor in Signal Processing, Singapore Polytechnics, Singapore.
Ingénieur of the Ecole Superieure d'Ingénieurs en Electronique and Electrotechnique" (ESIEE)

Research History

One evening in May 1979, Molecular Electronics started on my home blackboard, four years after the seminal publication by A. Aviram and M. Ratner. At that time, I was studying solid state physics of electronics in a French "grande école", named "Ecole Superieure d'Ingénieurs en Electronique and Electrotechnique" (ESIEE) in Paris. During that period, I was also studying at the Master level "Quantum Field Theory and Laser" at the University of Paris VI (Jussieu). After graduating from ESIEE and getting the same year the Master from the Paris VI University, I decided to spend at least a year far away from France. I was attached to the French embassy in Singapore, teaching at the Singapore Polytechnic during the year 1980-1981. This was a fantastic experience; first because I discovered Asia and Singapore, and second because during this period, I started to work on Molecular Electronics, a not known research field at that time.

When returning to France in 1982, Elf-Aquitaine recruited me to survey the potential of Molecular Electronics. After a year in Elf-Aquitaine, I became Assistant Professor in applied mathematics at the "grande école" "Ecole Nationale de l'Aeronautique et de l'Espace (Sup'Aero)" in Toulouse. In parallel, I prepare a PhD on the mathematical physics behind the concept of Molecular Electronics. In 1985, it was the first PhD thesis in Europe on Molecular Electronics at the nanoscale. The success of my PhD thesis was the occasion to contact J.P. Launay, just nominated Professor of Chemistry at Paris VI University and A. Aviram from IBM T.J. Watson Research Center near New York. After my PhD and for the year 1985-86, I was recruited Assistant Professor at the University Paul Sabatier (Toulouse) in the CNRS Laboratoire de Physique Quantique. Here, I worked on the technique to calculate the tunneling current intensity through a single molecule interconnect between 2 electrodes.

At the end of 1986, I went to work as a post-doc with Dr. A. Aviram at IBM T.J. Watson Research Center. There, I abandon for a while the theory of Molecular Electronics and had fun with scanning tunneling microscope (STM) experiments on a single molecule. In 1987, with A. Aviram and M. Pomerantz, we succeeded for the first time ever and using an STM for switching ON and OFF a single hemiquinone molecular switch. In parallel, I found time to develop the first molecular orbital theory of tunneling current through a molecule which gives rise later in 1990 to the Elastic Scattering Quantum Chemistry (ESQC) calculation technique, now a standard technique in calculating and interpreting STM images of molecules adsorbed on a surface.

When returning to France by the end of 1987, I was recruited by CNRS in the Prof. J.P. Launay group in Paris as a permanent CNRS researcher. There, I gave the first complete demonstration of the exponential behavior of electron transfer process through a molecule as a function of its length, generalizing to its exact expression the perturbative approach given in 1964 by Prof. McConnell. This was followed by a large number of theoretical studies and design of molecular wires and molecular switches.

In 1990, I spent a sabbatical in IBM Zurich labs working on the tunneling effect through a single molecule with Prof. H. Rohrer and Dr. G. Travaglini. At this occasion, I started to work with J.K. Gimzewski on the understanding of STM images. The very positive outcome of this collaboration was the first ever measurement of the electronic resistance of a single molecule. As early as in 1994, the C60 resistance at electronic contact was measured to be 55 MOhms.

My collaboration with J.K. Gimzewski opened a new era for Molecular Science. First, in 1996, we learnt how to manipulate a large molecule at room temperature using the tip of a STM. Second, as early as in 1997, we learnt how to change the electronic structure of a single molecule by acting on its conformation or on its geometry. This was the conclusion of my work started with A. Aviram 10 years before, a proof that molecular devices, at a single molecule basis, can really work at least at the lab scale. Single molecular machines follows with the discovery of the first molecular rotor (1.2 nm in diameter) in 1998. In 2001 and 2003, the first prototype of mono-molecular robots came from those pioneering experiments. The first single molecular amplifier started in 1997, the design of hybrid molecular circuit with more than 1000 single C60 molecular transistors in 2000, the first intramolecular switch in 2001 in collaboration with Dr. F. Moresco and Dr. G. Meyer from F.U. Berlin, and the first mono- molecular circuit in 2003 resulted all from those pioneering results on a single C60 molecule. In fact, I have invented the first single molecule amplifier in the summer of 1996 during my sabbatical at RIKEN (Japan). At that time, I was working with Prof. M. Aono on interpreting STM images of atomic manipulation on the Si(100) surface.

In parallel, the manipulation of a single molecule on a metallic surface opened the way to contact a single molecular wire as early as in 1999, also in collaboration with Dr. J.K. Gimzewski. This was continued in collaboration with F. Moresco in Berlin in 2003 by STM imaging for the first time, and studies of the surface electronic states of the pad as a result of the electronic interaction between a molecular wire end and its metallic pad. This is considered as the real starting point of mono-molecular electronics and atomic scale technology as announced in my seminal year 2000 Nature review paper.


1988 Chemical Physics Prize of the French Chemical Society
1991 IBM France Science Prize in Material Sciences.
1997 Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology (Experimental)
1999 The French Nanotechnology prize    
2001 CNRS Silver Medal in Chemistry 
2004 Elected fellow of the Institute of Physics (UK)
2004 Elected Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Physic (Singapore)
2005 Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology (Theory)
2009 Official recognition by the City of Toulouse
2017 “A Star of Europe” delivered by the French Minister of Research and Education
2018 Occitanie Science Prize

Selected Papers

  1. A nanographene disk rotating a single molecule gear on a Cu(111) surface
    H.H. Lin, A. Croy, R. Gutierrez, C. Joachim, G. Cuniberti
    Nanotechnology, 33, 175701 (2022).
  2. A Single Molecule Full Digital Adder
    W.H. Soe, P. de Mendoza, A.M. Echavarren, C.Joachim
    J. Phys. Chem. Lett, 12, 8528–8532 (2021).
  3. Doublet-singlet-doublet transition in a single organic molecule magnet on-surface constructed with up to 3 Aluminum atoms
    W.H. Soe, R. Robles, , P. de Mendoza, A. M. Echavarren N. Lorente, C. Joachim
    NanoLett., 21, 8317-8323 (2021).
  4. One-Way Rotation of a Chemically Anchored Single Molecule-Rotor
    F. Eisenhut, T. Kühne, J. Monsalve, S. Srivastava, D.A. Ryndyk, G. Cuniberti, O. Aiboudi, F. Lissel, V. Zobac, R. Robles, N. Lorente, C. Joachim, F. Moresco
    Nanoscale, 13, 16077 (2021).
  5. The Emergence of Multiple Coordination Numbers in Gold–Cyanoarene Complexes: A Study of the On-Surface Coordination Mechanism
    W. Nakanishi, A. Nakata, P. Perez, M. Takeuchi, C. Joachim; K. Sagisaka
    J. Phys. Chem. C., 125, 9937–9946 (2021).
  6. Local heat generated by a Foccussed He+ ion beam.
    M. Sakukai, S. Nagano and C. Joachim
    Nanotechnology, 31, 345708 (2020).
  7. A Tetrabenzophenazine Low Voltage Single Molecule XOR Quantum Hamiltonian Logic Gate
    W.H. Soe, C. Manzano and C. Joachim
    Chem. Phys. Lett., 478, 137388 (2020).
  8. Dodecacene generated on surface: A re-opening of the energy gap
    F.Eisenhut, T. Kühne, F. García, J.M. Alonso, E. Guitián, D.Pérez, G. Trinquier, G. Cuniberti, C. Joachim, D. Peña, F. Moresco
    ACS Nano, 14, 1011 (2020).
  9. On-Surface Atom by Atom Assembled Aluminium Bi-Nuclear Tetrabenzophenazine Organo-Metallic Magnetic Complex
    W.H. Soe, C. Manzano, R. Robles, N. Lorente, C. Joachim
    Nano lett., 20, 384 (2020).
  10. A Train of Single Molecule-Gears
    W. H. Soe, S. Srivastava, C. Joachim
    J. Phys. Chem. Lett., 10, 6462 (2019).
  11. Low Temperature Two STM Probes Measurements of a Floating Chemical Potential Pb(111) Surface
    W.-H. Soe, C. Durand, C. Joachim
    Eur. Phys. J. AP, 87, 31001 (2019).
  12. Coherent transport in planar atomic-scale structures measured by two-probes scanning Tunnelling Spectroscopy
    M. Kolmer, P. Brandimarte, J. Lis, R. Zuzak, S. Godlewski, H. Kawai, A. Garcia-Lekue, N. Lorente, T. Frederiksen, C. Joachim, D. Sanchez-Portal, M. Szymonski
    Nature Comm., 10, 1573 (2019).
  13. Electronic Resonances and Stabilization of the energy Gap of higher Acene on a gold surface
    J. Krüger, F. Eisenhut, D. Skidin, T. Lehmann, D. A. Ryndyk, G. Cuniberti, F. García, J. M. Alonso, E. Guitián, D. Pérez, D. Peña, G. Trinquier, J. P Malrieu, F.Moresco, C. Joachim
    ACS Nano, 12, 8506 (2018).
  14. Qubits and Quantum Hamiltonian Computing Performances for Operating Digital Boolean 1/2–adder
    G. Dridi, O. Faizy, C. Joachim
    Quantum Science and Technology, 3, 025005 (2018).
  15. Parallel Quantum Circuit in a tunnel junction
    O. Faizy, G. Dridi, C. Joachim
    Scientific Report, Nature, 6, 30198 (2016).
  16. Simultaneous and Coordinated Rotational switching of all molecular rotors in a network.
    Y. Zhang, H. Kersell, R. Stefak, J. Echevaria, V. Lancer, CGE Perea, Y. Li, A. Deshpand, K.F. Braun, C. Joachim, G. Rapenne, S.W. Hla.
    Nature Nano, 11, 706 (2016).
  17. Conductance of a single flexible molecular wire composed of alternating Donor and Acceptor units
    C. Nacci, F. Ample, D. Bleger, S. Hecht, C. Joachim, L. Grill
    Nature Comm., 6, 7397 (2015).
  18. Realization of a Quantum Hamiltonian Computing Boolean logic gate on the Si(001):H surface
    M. Kolmer, R. Zuzak, S. Godlewski, M. Szymonski, G. Dridi, C. Joachim
    Nanoscale, 7, 12325 (2015).
  19. Solid state SiO2 nanogears AFM tip manipulation on HOPG
    J. Yang, J. Deng, C. Troadec, T. Ondarcuhu, C. Joachim
    Nanotechnology, 25, 465305 (2014).
  20. Controlled Step by Step Rotation of a Multi-Component Single Molecule Motor
    U.G.E. Perera, F. Ample, H. Kersell, Y. Zhang, G. Vives, J. Echeverria, M. Grisolia, G. Rapenne, C. Joachim, S.W. Hla
    Nature Nano, 8, 46 (2013).
  21. Conductance of a single narrow graphene nanoribbon at different electron energy
    M. Koch, F. Ample, C. Joachim, L. Grill
    Nature Nano., 7, 713 (2012).
  22. Manipulating molecular quantum states with classical metal atom inputs: demonstration of a single molecule NOR logic gate.
    W.H. Soe, X. Manzano, N. Renaud, P. De Mandoza, A. De Sarkar, F. Ample, M. M.Hliwa, A.M. Echevaren, N. Chandrasekhar, C. Joachim,
    ACS Nano,5 ,1436 (2011).
  23. Step by step rotation of a molecule-gear mounted on an atomic scale axis
    C. Manzano, W.H. Soe, H.S.J. Wong, F. Ample, A. Gourdon, N. Chandrasekhar, C. Joachim,
    Nature Mat., 8, 576 (2009)
  24. Direct observation of molecular orbitals of a pentacene physisorbed on Au(111)
    W.H. Soe, C. Manzano, A. De Sarkar, N. Chandrasekhar, C. Joachim
    Phys. Rev. Lett., 102, 176102 (2009).
  25. The conductance of a single conjugated polymer as a continuous function of its length
    L. Lafferentz, F. Ample, H. Yu, S. Hecht, C. Joachim, L. Grill,
    Science, 323, 1193 (2009).
  26. Rolling a single molecular wheel at the atomic scale
    Grill L, Rieder KH, Moresco F, Rapenne G, Stojkovic S, Bouju X, Joachim C
    Nature Nanotechnology, 2(2), (2007) 95-98.
  27. A rack-and-pinion device at the molecular scale
    Chiaravalloti F, Gross L, Rieder KH, Stojkovic SM, Gourdon A, Joachim C, Moresco F
    Nature Mater., 6(1), (2007) 30-33.
  28. Trapping and moving metal atoms with a 6-legs molecule
    L. Gross, K.H. Rieder, F. Moresco, S. Stojkovic, A. Gourdon, C. Joachim
    Nature Mat., 4, 892-895 (2005).
  29. Molecular electronics: Some views on transport junctions and beyond
    Joachim C, Ratner MA
    Proc. Nat. Acad.Sci. USA., 102(25), (2005) 8801-8808.
  30. A quantum digital half adder inside a single molecule
    I. Duchemin, C. Joachim
    Chem. Phys. Lett., 406, 167 (2005).
  31. Molecules on insulating films: Scanning-tunneling microscopy imaging of individual molecular orbitals
    Repp J, Meyer G, Stojkovic SM, Gourdon A, Joachim C
    Phy. Rev. Lett., 94(2), (2005) Art. No. 026803.
  32. Direct determination of the energy required to operate a single molecule switch
    Loppacher C, Guggisberg M, Pfeiffer O, Meyer E, Bammerlin M, Luthi R, Schlittler R, Gimzewski JK, Tang H, Joachim C
    Phy. Rev. Lett., 90(6), (2003) Art. No. 066107.
  33. The Lander molecule as a template on Cu(110)
    F. Rosei, M. Schunack, P. Jiang, A. Gourdon, C. Joachim, F. Besenbacher
    Science, 296, 328 (2002).
  34. Electronics using hybrid-molecular and mono-molecular devices
    Joachim C, Gimzewski JK, Aviram A
    Nature, 408(6812), (2000) 541-548.
  35. Nanoscale science of single molecules using local probes
    J.K. Gimzewski et C. Joachim
    Science, 283, 1683 (1999).
  36. Rotation of a single molecule within a supramolecular bearing
    J.K. Gimzewski, C. Joachim, R.R. Schlittler, V. Langlais, H. Tang et J. Johanson
    Science, 281, 531 (1998).