Robert Metzger

Robert M. Metzger

Professor Emeritus


  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Stanford University, 1969-1971
  • PhD, California Institute of Technology, 1968
  • BA, University of California, Los Angeles, 1962

Research Areas

  • Molecular electronics
  • Electrical conductivity in organic crystals
  • Unimolecular organic rectifiers


Dr. Robert M. Metzger has been a professor of Chemistry and Materials Science at the University of Alabama since 1986. He was born of Hungarian parents in Yokohama, Japan and educated in Merano, Italy, He received his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1962 (where he worked with Willard F. Libby) and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 1968 (advisor: Harden McConnell). He held a post-doctoral position at Stanford University and rose through the academic ranks in the Chemistry Department of the University of Mississippi (1971-1986), ending as Coulter Professor of Chemistry. His research interests encompass single-crystal X-ray crystallography, electron paramagnetic resonance, Madelung energies of organic metals, organic and cuprate superconductors, magnetic materials, Langmuir-Blodgett films and (for the last 20 years) unimolecular devices, He has published more than 218 articles, edited four books (one more in press), organized three international conferences, and has written a graduate-level textbook “The Physical Chemist’s Toolbox” (in press). He directed the research of 14 Ph.D. students and one M.S. student. He has been a guest professor or researcher at the Universities of Heidelberg, Bordeaux, Copenhagen, Florence, Kyoto, Padua, Parma, Rennes, Vienna, Delft, and is now concurrently Mercator Professor of Chemistry at the Technical University of Dresden, Germany. He was the recipient of the 1998 Blackmon-Moody Faculty Award at the University of Alabama. He has presented lectures in 30 foreign countries, and also is very fluent in Hungarian, Italian, French and German.

Selected Publications

R.M. Metzger, “Unimolecular Rectifiers”, in M. A. Reed and T. Lee, Eds., “Molecular Nanoelectronics” (American Scientific Publishers, Stevenson Ranch, CA, 2003) pp.19-38.

T. Xu and R. M. Metzger, “Nanoditches Fabricated Using a Carbon Nanotube as a Contact Mask”, Nanoletters 2: 1061-1065 (2002).

R. M. Metzger, “Electrical Rectification by Langmuir-Blodgett Monolayers”, Nanotechnology 13: 585-591 (2003).

J. W. Baldwin, R. R. Amaresh, I. R. Peterson, W. J. Shumate, M. P. Cava, M. A. Amiri, R. Hamilton, G. J. Ashwell, and R. M. Metzger, “Rectification and Nonlinear Optical Properties of a Langmuir-Blodgett Monolayer of a Pyridinium Dye ”, J. Phys. Chem. B106: 12158-12164 (2002).

R. M. Metzger, “One-Molecule-Thick Devices: Rectification of Electrical Current by Three Langmuir-Blodgett Monolayers”, Synth. Metals 137: 1499-1501 (2003).

R. M. Metzger, J. W. Baldwin, W. J. Shumate, I. R. Peterson, P. Mani, G. J. Mankey, T. Morris, G. Szulczewski, S. Bosi, M. Prato, A. Comito, and Y. Rubin, “Large Current Asymmetries and Potential Device Properties of a Langmuir-Blodgett Monolayer of Dimethyanilinoazafullerene Sandwiched between Gold Electrodes”, J. Phys. Chem. B107(4): 1021-1027 (2003).

D. M. Adams, L. Brus, C. E. D. Chidsey, S. Creager, C. Creutz, C. R. Kagan, P. V. Kamat, M. Lieberman, S. Lindsay, R. A. Marcus, R. M. Metzger, M. E. Michel-Beyerle, J. R. Miller, M. D. Newton, D. R. Rolison, O. Sankey, K. S. Schanze, J. Yardley, and X. Zhu, “Charge Transfer on the Nanoscale”, J. Phys. Chem. B107: 6668–6697 (2003).

A. Jaiswal, R. R. Amaresh, M. V. Lakshmikantham, A. Honciuc, M. P. Cava, and R. M. Metzger, “Electrical Rectification in a Monolayer of Zwitterions Assembled by Either Physisorption or Chemisorption”, Langmuir 19: 9043-9050 (2003).

R. M. Metzger, “Unimolecular Electrical Rectifiers”, Chem. Rev. 103: 3803-3834 (2003).

R. M. Metzger, “Unimolecular Rectifiers and Proposed Unimolecular Amplifier”, in “Molecular Electronics III”, edited by J. R. Reimers, C. A. Picconatto, J. C. Ellenbogen, and R. Shashidhar, Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 1006: 252-276 (2003).

R. M. Metzger, “Molecular Rectifiers”, in Encyclopedia of Supramolecular Chemistry, Vol. II, J. L. Atwood and J. W. Steele, Eds., pp. 1525-1537 (Marcel Dekker, New York, NY, 2004).

R. M. Metzger, “Three Unimolecular Rectifiers and a Proposed Unimolecular Amplifier”, in “Organic Conductors, Superconductors and Magnets: from Synthesis to Molecular Electronics”, ed. by L. Ouahab and E. Yagubskii, NATO ASI Ser. II Vol. 139 (Kluwer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, 2004), pp. 269-293.

D. L. Allara, C. L. McGuinness, and R. M. Metzger, “The Design, Characterization and Use of Molecules in Molecular Devices”, in “Organic Conductors, Superconductors and Magnets: from Synthesis to Molecular Electronics”, ed. by L. Ouahab and E. Yagubskii, NATO ASI Ser. II Vol 139 (Kluwer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, 2004), pp. 295-315.

 R. M. Metzger, “Four Examples of Unimolecular Electrical Rectifiers”, The Electrochemical Society Interface 13: 40-44 (Spring 2004).

R. M. Metzger, “Unimolecular Rectifiers and Beyond”, in “Quantum Sensing and Nanophotonic Devices” ed. by M. Razeghi and G. J. Brown, SPIE (Volume 5359 paper 18) 5359: 153-168 (2004) (SPIE – The International Society for Optical Engineering, Bellingham, WA, 2004)

F. Terenziani, A. Painelli, A. Girlando, and R. M. Metzger, “From Solution to Langmuir-Blodgett Films: Spectroscopic Study of a Zwitterionic Dye”, J. Phys. Chem. B108(30): 10743-10750 (2004).

R. M. Metzger, “Unimolecular Rectifiers and Prospects for Other Unimolecular Electronic Devices”, Chem. Record 4(5): 291-304 (2004).

E. Aqad, M. V. Lakshmikantham, M. P. Cava, R. M. Metzger, and V. Khodorkhovsky “Intramolecular Charge Transfer Interactions in Novel π-Extended Tetrathiafulvalene Derivatives” J. Org. Chem. 70: 768-775 (2005).

I. R. Peterson and R. M. Metzger, “Individual Molecules as Electronic Components”, IEE Proc. Circ. Dev. Syst. 151(5): 452-456 (2004).

A. Honciuc, A. Jaiswal, A. Gong, K. Ashworth, C. W. Spangler, I. R. Peterson, L. R. Dalton, and R. M. Metzger, “Current Rectification in a Langmuir-Schaefer Monolayer of Fullerene-bis-[4-diphenylamino-4”-(N-ethyl-N-2’’’-ethyl)amino-1,4-diphenyl-1,3-butadiene] Malonate between Au Electrodes”, J. Phys. Chem. B109: 857-871 (2005).

R. M. Metzger, “Six Unimolecular Rectifiers and What Lies Ahead”, in “Introducing Molecular Electronics”, Springer Lecture Notes on Physics Vol. 680, edited by G. Cuniberti, G. Fagas, and K. Richter (Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, 2005) Chapter 13 pages 313-349.

R. M. Metzger, “Unimolecular Rectifiers and What Lies Ahead”, Colloids and Surfaces A285: 2-10 (2006).

R. M. Metzger, “Unimolecular Rectifiers: Methods and Challenges”, Analytica Chimica Acta 568: 146-155 (2006).

R. M. Metzger, “Unimolecular Rectifiers: Present Status”, Chemical Physics 326: 176-187 (2006).

W. J. Shumate, D. L. Mattern, A. Jaiswal, J. Burgess, D. A. Dixon, T. R. White, A. Honciuc, and R. M. Metzger, “Spectroscopic and Rectification Studies of Three Donor-Sigma-Acceptor Compounds, Consisting of a One-Electron Donor (Pyrene or Ferrocene), a One-Electron Acceptor (Perylenebisimide), and a C19 Swallowtail”, J. Phys. Chem. B110(23): 11146- 11159 (2006).

A. Honciuc, A. Otsuka, Y.-H. Wang, S. K. McElwee, S. A. Woski, G. Saito, and R. M. Metzger, “Polarization of Charge-Transfer Bands and Rectification in Hexadecylquinolinium 7,7,8-Tricyanoquinodimethanide and Its Tetrafluoro Analog”, J. Phys. Chem. B110(31): 15085-15093 (2006).

R. M. Metzger, “Unimolecular Electronics: Results and Prospects”, in “Nano and Molecular Electronics Handbook” edited by S. E. Lyshevski (CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group, Boca Raton, FL, 2007) pp. 3-1 to 3-25.

A. Honciuc, R. M. Metzger, A. Gong, and C. W. Spangler, “Elastic and Inelastic Electron Tunneling Spectroscopy of a New Rectifying Monolayer”, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 129(26): 8310-8319 (2007).

A. Jaiswal, D. Rajagopal, M. V. Lakshmikantham, M. P. Cava, and R. M. Metzger, “Unimolecular Rectification and Other Properties of CH3C(O)S-C14H28Q+-3CNQ- and CH3C(O)S-C16H32Q+-3CNQ- Organized by Self-Assembly, Langmuir-Blodgett, and Langmuir-Schaefer Techniques”, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 9: 4007-4017 (2007).

R. M. Metzger, “Unimolecular Electronics”, J. Mater. Chem. 18: 4364-4396 (2008).

R. M. Metzger, “Unimolecular Electronics and Rectifiers”, Synth. Metals 159: 2277-2281 (2009).

R. M. Metzger, “Single-Molecule Electronics”, in “Supramolecular Chemistry: From Molecules to Nanomaterials”, P. A. Gale and J. W. Steele, Editors, Volume 5: Self-Assembly and Supramolecular Devices, (Pavel Anzenbacher, Jr., Section Editor) (Wiley, Chichester, UK, 2012), pp. 2507-2522.

R. M. Metzger and D. L. Mattern, “Unimolecular Electronic Devices” in “Unimolecular and Supramolecular Electronics II: Chemistry and Physics Meet at the Metal-Molecule Interface”, edited by R. M. Metzger, Springer Topics in Current Chemistry 313: 39-84 (Springer, Heidelberg Dordrecht London New York, 2012).

C. Toher, D. Nozaki, G. Cuniberti, and R. M. Metzger, “Unimolecular Amplifier: Principles of a Three-Terminal Device with Power Gain”, RSC Nanoscale 5: 6975-6984 (2013).

M. S. Johnson, R. Kota, D. L. Mattern, C. M. Hill, M. Vasiliu, D. A. Dixon, and R. M. Metzger, “A Two-Faced “Janus” Unimolecular Rectifier Exhibits Rectification Reversal”, J. Mater. Chem. C2: 9892-9902 (2014).

R. M. Metzger, “Unimolecular Electronics”, Chem. Rev. 115: 5056-5115 (2015).

Joseph E. Meany, Steven P. Kelley, Robert M. Metzger, Robin D. Rogers, and Stephen A. Woski, “4,4′-Dibromo-2′,5′-dimethoxy-[1,1′-biphenyl]-2,5-dione (BrHBQBr)”, Acta Cryst. E71: 1454-1456 (2015)

Marcus S. Johnson, Lanka Wickramasinghe, Cláudio N. Verani, and Robert M. Metzger, “Confirmation of the Rectifying Behavior in a Pentacoordinate [N2O3] Iron(III) Surfactant using a Eutectic Ga-In | LB monolayer | Au Assembly”, J. Phys. Chem. C120: 10578-10583 (2016).

M. S. Johnson, R. Kota, D. L. Mattern, and R. M. Metzger, “Janus Reversal and Coulomb Blockade in Ferrocene-Perylenebisimide and N,N,N’,N’-Tetramethyl-para-phenylene-diamine-Perylenebisimide D-σ-A Rectifiers”, Langmuir 32: 6851-6859 (2016).

J. E. Meany, M. S. Johnson, S. A. Woski, and R. M. Metzger, “Surprisingly Big Rectification Ratios for a Very Small Unimolecular Rectifier”, ChemPlusChem, 81: 1152-1155 (2016).

M. S. Johnson, C. L. Horton, Sunalee Gonawala, Cláudio N. Verani, and Robert M. Metzger, “Observation of Current Rectification by a New Asymmetric  Iron(III) Surfactant in a Eutectic GaIn | LB Monolayer | Au” Sandwich”, J. Chem. Soc. Dalton Trans.47: 6344-6350 (2018), published.[DOI: 10.1039.C8DT00562A]

R. M. Metzger, “Quo Vadis, Unimolecular Electronics?”, Nanoscale 10: 10316-10332 (2018), DOI: 10.1039/C8NR01905C