nl en

Molecular Electronics (in collaboration with Delft)


Admission Requirements



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 2023, 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
For detailed information go to Timetable in Brightspace

You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have sucessfully registered for in MyStudyMap will automatically be displayed in MyTimeTable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go the the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Please note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different timetables into one. This video explains how to do this.

Mode of instruction

See Brightspace

Assessment method

Depending on the situation: an oral or written exam which counts for 50% of the final grade. The other 50% of the final grade is based on the mark for an essay that the students write about a subject in contemporary molecular electronics. To pass the course, the rounded average of the essay and exam needs to be at least a 6 while the exam grade itself needs to be at least a 6 as well.

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


From the academic year 2022-2023 on every student has to register for courses with the new enrollment tool MyStudyMap. There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information.

Please note that it is compulsory to both preregister and confirm your participation for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam of the course. Confirming your exam participation is possible until ten days before the exam.

Extensive FAQ's on MyStudymap can be found here.



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 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