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Controlled Switching within an Organic Molecule Deliberately Pinned to a Semiconductor Surface

C. Nacci, S. C. Erwin, K. Kanisawa, S. Fölsch

ACS Nano (2012) Article ASAP


Abstract: Bistable organic molecules were deposited on a weakly binding III-V semiconductor surface and then pinned into place using individual native adatoms. These pinning atoms, positioned by atomically precise manipulation techniques in a cryogenic scanning tunneling microscope (STM) at 5 K, stabilize the p-conjugated molecule against rotation excited by the tunneling electrons. The pinning allows triggering of the molecule’s intrinsic switching mechanism (a hydrogen transfer reaction) by the STM tunnel current. Density-functional theory calculations reveal that the energetics of the switching process is virtually unaffected both by the surface and the pinning atoms. Hence, we have demonstrated that individual molecules with predictable, predefined functions can be stabilized and assembled on semiconductor templates.