Observation of Structural and Conductance Transition of Rotaxane Molecules at a Submolecular Scale


  • This project is partially supported by the Natural Scientific Foundation of China, National 973 and 863 projects of China, the Supercomputing Center, NCIC, CAS, and the Shanghai Supercomputer Center. Work in Münster was supported by the Ministry of Science and Research (MWF), Nordrhein–Westfalen (Germany). Supporting Information is available online from Wiley InterScience or from the author.


Rotaxane molecules have attracted considerable interest because of their good performance in both molecular electronic devices and nanoscale data-storage media. Low-temperature scanning tunneling microscopy is used to investigate the structure and conductance of single H2 rotaxane molecules on a buffer-layered Au(111) substrate at 77 K. It is demonstrated that the conductance switching in rotaxane-based, solid-state devices is an inherent property of the rotaxane molecules. These results provide evidence that the conductance switching might arise from the movement of the cyclobis(paraquat-p-phenylene) ring along the rod section of the dumbbell-shaped backbone of the rotaxane molecule.