Issue 14, 2018

A single-molecule porphyrin-based switch for graphene nano-gaps


Stable single-molecule switches with high on–off ratios are an essential component for future molecular-scale circuitry. Unfortunately, devices using gold electrodes are neither complementary metal–oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) compatible nor stable at room temperature. To overcome these limitations, several groups have been developing electroburnt graphene electrodes for single molecule electronics. Here, in anticipation of these developments, we examine how the electrical switching properties of a series of porphyrin molecules with pendant dipoles can be tuned by systematically increasing the number of spacer units between the porphyrin core and graphene electrodes. The porphyrin is sandwiched between a graphene source and drain and gated by a third electrode. It is found that the system has two stable states with high and low conductances, which can be controlled by coupling the dipole of the functionalised porphyrin to an external electric field. The associated rotation leads to the breaking of conjugation and a decrease in electrical conductances. As the number of spacers is increased, the conductance ratio can increase from 100 with one spacer to 200 with four spacers. This switching ratio is further enhanced by decreasing the temperature, reaching approximately 2200 at 100 K. This design for a molecular switch using graphene electrodes could be extended to other aromatic systems.

Graphical abstract: A single-molecule porphyrin-based switch for graphene nano-gaps

Supplementary files

Article information

Article type
02 Jan 2018
28 Feb 2018
First published
01 Mar 2018
This article is Open Access
Creative Commons BY license

Nanoscale, 2018,10, 6524-6530

A single-molecule porphyrin-based switch for graphene nano-gaps

Q. Wu, S. Hou, H. Sadeghi and C. J. Lambert, Nanoscale, 2018, 10, 6524 DOI: 10.1039/C8NR00025E

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