Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 10, 2015
Previous Article Next Article

Towards single molecule switches

Author affiliations

Abstract

The concept of using single molecules as key building blocks for logic gates, diodes and transistors to perform basic functions of digital electronic devices at the molecular scale has been explored over the past decades. However, in addition to mimicking the basic functions of current silicon devices, molecules often possess unique properties that have no parallel in conventional materials and promise new hybrid devices with novel functions that cannot be achieved with equivalent solid-state devices. The most appealing example is the molecular switch. Over the past decade, molecular switches on surfaces have been intensely investigated. A variety of external stimuli such as light, electric field, temperature, tunneling electrons and even chemical stimulus have been used to activate these molecular switches between bistable or even multiple states by manipulating molecular conformations, dipole orientations, spin states, charge states and even chemical bond formation. The switching event can occur either on surfaces or in break junctions. The aim of this review is to highlight recent advances in molecular switches triggered by various external stimuli, as investigated by low-temperature scanning tunneling microscopy (LT-STM) and the break junction technique. We begin by presenting the molecular switches triggered by various external stimuli that do not provide single molecule selectivity, referred to as non-selective switching. Special focus is then given to selective single molecule switching realized using the LT-STM tip on surfaces. Single molecule switches operated by different mechanisms are reviewed and discussed. Finally, molecular switches embedded in self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) and single molecule junctions are addressed.

Graphical abstract: Towards single molecule switches

Back to tab navigation

Publication details

The article was received on 08 Nov 2014 and first published on 11 Mar 2015


Article type: Review Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4CS00377B
Citation: Chem. Soc. Rev., 2015,44, 2998-3022
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY license
  •   Request permissions

    Towards single molecule switches

    J. L. Zhang, J. Q. Zhong, J. D. Lin, W. P. Hu, K. Wu, G. Q. Xu, A. T. S. Wee and W. Chen, Chem. Soc. Rev., 2015, 44, 2998
    DOI: 10.1039/C4CS00377B

    This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence. Material from this article can be used in other publications provided that the correct acknowledgement is given with the reproduced material.

    Reproduced material should be attributed as follows:

    • For reproduction of material from NJC:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the RSC.
    • For reproduction of material from PCCP:
      [Original citation] - Published by the PCCP Owner Societies.
    • For reproduction of material from PPS:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the European Society for Photobiology, the European Photochemistry Association, and RSC.
    • For reproduction of material from all other RSC journals:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry.

    Information about reproducing material from RSC articles with different licences is available on our Permission Requests page.

Search articles by author

Spotlight

Advertisements