Article abstract

Nature Materials 8, 342 - 347 (2009)
Published online: 8 February 2009 | doi:10.1038/nmat2377

Subject Categories: Electronic materials | Molecular electronics

Ferroelectricity and polarity control in solid-state flip-flop supramolecular rotators

Tomoyuki Akutagawa1,2,3, Hiroyuki Koshinaka2, Daisuke Sato2, Sadamu Takeda4, Shin-Ichiro Noro1,2, Hiroyuki Takahashi5, Reiji Kumai5, Yoshinori Tokura5 & Takayoshi Nakamura1,2,3

Molecular rotation has attracted much attention with respect to the development of artificial molecular motors, in an attempt to mimic the intelligent and useful functions of biological molecular motors. Random motion of molecular rotators—for example the 180° flip-flop motion of a rotatory unit—causes a rotation of the local structure. Here, we show that such motion is controllable using an external electric field and demonstrate how such molecular rotators can be used as polarization rotation units in ferroelectric molecules. In particular, m-fluoroanilinium forms a hydrogen-bonding assembly with dibenzo[18]crown-6, which was introduced as the counter cation of [Ni(dmit)2]- anions (dmit2-=2-thioxo-1,3-dithiole-4,5-dithiolate). The supramolecular rotator of m-fluoroanilinium exhibited dipole rotation by the application of an electric field, and the crystal showed a ferroelectric transition at 348 K. These findings will open up new strategies for ferroelectric molecules where a chemically designed dipole unit enables control of the nature of the ferroelectric transition temperature.

  1. Research Institute for Electronic Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 001-0020, Japan
  2. Graduate School of Environmental Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-0810, Japan
  3. CREST, Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), Kawaguchi 332-0012, Japan
  4. Graduate School of Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-0810, Japan
  5. Correlated Electron Research Center, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Tsukuba 305-8562, Japan

Correspondence to: Tomoyuki Akutagawa1,2,3 e-mail:

Correspondence to: Takayoshi Nakamura1,2,3 e-mail:


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