Bistability Loss as a Key Feature in Azobenzene (Non-)Switching on Metal Surfaces


  • The authors gratefully acknowledge technical support by Christoph Scheurer and Jörg Meyer, as well as computing time at the Leibniz Supercomputing Center (LRZ) and the Garching Supercomputing Center (RZG) of the Max Planck Society (MPG). This work was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).


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Flip the switch on metals: Coinage metal adsorbed azobenzene is investigated as a prototypical molecular switch. Switching capabilities are not just lost owing to excited-state quenching, but also because of changes in the ground-state energetics (see graph; black=gas phase, gray=Ag(111), yellow=Au(111)). Electron-demanding coadsorbates are suggested as a strategy to regain the switching function.