Joshua Hihath

Joshua Hihath

Assistant Professor



  • Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, Arizona State University, 2008
  • M.S. in Electrical Engineering, Arizona State University, 2005
  • B.S. in Electrical Engineering, Kettering University, 2003

Professional Experience

  • Assistant Professor, University of California, Davis, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, 2011-Present
  • Assistant Research Professor, The Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, Center for Bioelectronics and Biosensors, 2010-2011
  • Laboratory Research Manager, The Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, Center for Bioelectronics and Biosensors, 2008-2010
  • Postdoctoral Scholar, Arizona State University, Department of Electrical Engineering, 2008
  • Design for Test Engineer, Sun Microsystems, 2001-2003

Research Interests

Molecular-Scale Systems: Understanding the electrical, mechanical, and magnetic properties of single molecule devices; creating single-molecule devices and circuits; understanding and controlling energy conversion in molecular systems; and biological diagnostics requiring a single molecule.

Research Activities

My research group is focused on understanding and controlling the physical properties of molecular-scale devices. Molecules represent a unique class of materials that are inherently quantum mechanical in nature, have natural, electromechanical resonances at THz frequencies, and can be synthesized on enormous scales. As such, we are working to develop single-molecule systems with device functionalities that parallel conventional semiconductor devices such as rectification, FET behavior, piezoresistivity, and resonant tunneling, as well as harnessing the unique features of molecular materials for creating novel device paradigms for operation such as mechanical gating and spintronics.

In addition to creating electronic devices out of molecular systems, we are exploring fundamental questions of energy conversion at the nanoscale. Using Inelastic Electron Tunneling Spectroscopy (IETS) it is possible to measure the excitement of individual vibration modes within the molecule and to study the lifetime of phonon excited states. Many unusual phenomena occur at this size scale and understanding charge transport and energy conversion at these scales will have a significant impact on future technologies.

We are also exploring areas where the ability to contact and measure the electronic properties of a single molecule device has advantages over conventional approaches. An important example of this possibility is in biology, where only a single or few molecules of interest may be present in a sample. The ability to recognize and distinguish these systems from other species in the sample is extremely important. Therefore, we have begun studying the electronic properties of biological samples such as DNA and peptides at the single molecule level to explore the utility of these methods for performing biological diagnostics.

Selected Publications

  1. J. Hihath, C. Bruot, H. Nakamura, Y. Asai, I. Díez-Pérez, Y. Lee, L. Yu, and N. Tao"Inelastic Transport and Low-Bias Rectification in a Single-Molecule-Diode." ACS Nano, In Press. DOI:
  2. I. Díez-Pérez, J. Hihath, T. Hines, Z. Wan, K. Müllen, and N. T "Controlling Single Molecule Conductance through Lateral Coupling of π-orbitals," Nature Nanotechnology, vol. 6, pp. 226-231, 2011. DOI:
  3. T. Hines, I. Díez-Pérez, J. Hihath, H. Liu, Z.S. Wang, J. Zhao, G. Zhou, K. Müllen and N. Ta"Transition from Tunneling to Hopping in Single Molecular Junctions by Measuring Length and Temperature Dependence." Journal of the American Chemical Society, vol. 132, pp. 11658-11664, 2010. DOI:
  4. I. Díez-Pérez, Z. Li, J. Hihath, J. Li, C. Zhang, X. Yang, L. Zang, Y. Dai, X. Feng, K. Mullen, and N. Tao"Gate-Controlled Electron Transport in Coronenes as a Bottom-up Approach Towards Graphene Transistors," Nature: Communications, vol. 1, pp. 31/1-5, 2010. DOI:
  5. J. Hihath, C. Bruot, and N. Tao. "Electron-Phonon Interactions in Single Octanedithiol Molecular Junctions." ACS Nano, vol. 4, pp. 3823-3830, 2010. DOI:
  6. J. Hihath, C. R. Arroyo, G. Rubio-Bollinger, N. Tao and N. Agrait. "Study of Electron-Phonon Interactions in a Single Molecule Covalently Connected to Two Electrodes," Nano Letters, vol. 8, pp. 1673-1678, 2008. DOI:
  7. J. Hihath, B. Xu, P. Zhang, and N. Tao, "Study of Single-Nucleotide Polymorphisms by Means of Electrical Conductance Measurements," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 102, pp. 16979-16983, 2005. DOI: