Three site molecular orbital controlled single-molecule rectifiers based on perpendicularly linked porphyrin–imide dyads†
The original single-molecule rectifier proposed by Aviram and Ratner is based on a donor–σ-acceptor structure, in which σ functions as the insulator to disconnect the π electronic systems of the two parts. However, there have been no reports on experimentally demonstrated highly efficient single-molecule rectifiers based on this mechanism. In this paper, we demonstrate single-molecule rectifiers with perpendicularly connected metal porphyrin–imide dyads. Our proposed molecule rectifiers use hydroxyl groups at both ends as weak anchoring groups. Measurements of the single-molecule current–voltage characteristics of these molecules clearly show that the rectification ratio reached a high value of 14 on average. Moreover, the ratio could be tuned by changing the central metal in the porphyrin core. All of these features can be explained by the energy-level shift of the molecular orbital using a model with three electronic parts.