Light-Powered Electrical Switch Based on Cargo-Lifting Azobenzene Monolayers


  • This work was supported by the EU through the projects Marie Curie EST–SUPER (MEST-CT-2004-008128), RTN Marie Curie RTNs PRAIRIES (MRTN-CT-2006-035810) and THREADMILL (MRTN-CT-2006-036040), and LIMM (IST-2001-35503), the ERA-Chemistry project SurConFold, the ESF-SONS2-SUPRAMATES project, the Regione Emilia-Romagna PRIITT Nanofaber Net-Lab, the DFG grant (ZH 63/9-2), and NCCR Nanoscience of the SNF.


original image

We have liftoff! Tightly packed self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) of ultrarigid conjugated azobenzenes incorporated into a Hg-based junction undergo reversible photoisomerization (see picture). The current–voltage curves indicate that the junction operates as a current photoswitch as result of the forces expressed by the SAMs, which act as a light-powered cargo lifter.