Article | Published:

Conformation-based signal transfer and processing at the single-molecule level

Nature Nanotechnology volume 12, pages 10711076 (2017) | Download Citation

Abstract

Building electronic components made of individual molecules is a promising strategy for the miniaturization and integration of electronic devices. However, the practical realization of molecular devices and circuits for signal transmission and processing at room temperature has proven challenging. Here, we present room-temperature intermolecular signal transfer and processing using SnCl2Pc molecules on a Cu(100) surface. The in-plane orientations of the molecules are effectively coupled via intermolecular interaction and serve as the information carrier. In the coupled molecular arrays, the signal can be transferred from one molecule to another in the in-plane direction along predesigned routes and processed to realize logical operations. These phenomena enable the use of molecules displaying intrinsic bistable states as complex molecular devices and circuits with novel functions.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1.

    & Positioning single atoms with a scanning tunnelling microscope. Nature 344, 524–526 (1990).

  2. 2.

    Nanoelectromechanical systems. Science 290, 1532–1535 (2000).

  3. 3.

    , , & Are single molecular wires conducting? Science 271, 1705–1707 (1996).

  4. 4.

    et al. Unidirectional molecular motor on a gold surface. Nature 437, 1337–1340 (2005).

  5. 5.

    et al. A current-driven single-atom memory. Nat. Nanotech. 8, 645–648 (2013).

  6. 6.

    et al. Single-molecule electronics: from chemical design to functional devices. Chem. Soc. Rev. 43, 7378–7411 (2014).

  7. 7.

    & Electron transport in molecular wire junctions. Science 300, 1384–1389 (2003).

  8. 8.

    & Single-molecule junctions beyond electronic transport. Nat. Nanotech. 8, 399–410 (2013).

  9. 9.

    et al. Nano-architectures by covalent assembly of molecular building blocks. Nat. Nanotech. 2, 687–691 (2007).

  10. 10.

    , , , & Room temperature negative differential resistance through individual organic molecules on silicon surfaces. Nano Lett. 4, 55–59 (2004).

  11. 11.

    , & Current-induced hydrogen tautomerization and conductance switching of naphthalocyanine molecules. Science 317, 1203–1206 (2007).

  12. 12.

    et al. A bond-fluctuation mechanism for stochastic switching in wired molecules. Science 300, 1413–1416 (2003).

  13. 13.

    et al. Simultaneous and coordinated rotational switching of all molecular rotors in a network. Nat. Nanotech. 11, 706–712 (2016).

  14. 14.

    et al. Electrically driven directional motion of a four-wheeled molecule on a metal surface. Nature 479, 208–211 (2011).

  15. 15.

    , , , & Bistability in atomic-scale antiferromagnets. Science 335, 196–199 (2012).

  16. 16.

    et al. A kilobyte rewritable atomic memory. Nat. Nanotech. 11, 926–929 (2016).

  17. 17.

    & Synthesis of amphiphilic conjugated diblock oligomers as molecular diodes. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 41, 3598–3601 (2002).

  18. 18.

    There's plenty of room at the bottom. Eng. Sci. 23, 22–36 (1960).

  19. 19.

    , , & Pushing and pulling a Sn ion through an adsorbed phthalocyanine molecule. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 131, 3639–3643 (2009).

  20. 20.

    et al. Positioning and switching phthalocyanine molecules on a Cu(100) surface at room temperature. ACS Nano 8, 12734–12740 (2014).

  21. 21.

    et al. Switching molecular orientation of individual fullerene at room temperature. Sci. Rep. 3, 3062 (2013).

  22. 22.

    & Spin-transition polymers: from molecular materials toward memory devices. Science 279, 44–48 (1998).

  23. 23.

    & Charge carrier transporting molecular materials and their applications in devices. Chem. Rev. 107, 953–1010 (2007).

  24. 24.

    et al. Conformational changes of single molecules induced by scanning tunneling microscopy manipulation: a route to molecular switching. Phys. Rev. Lett. 86, 672–675 (2001).

  25. 25.

    et al. Controlling intramolecular hydrogen transfer in a porphycene molecule with single atoms or molecules located nearby. Nat. Chem. 6, 41–46 (2014).

  26. 26.

    et al. Manipulating individual dichlorotin phthalocyanine molecules on Cu(100) surface at room temperature by scanning tunneling microscopy. Mater. Res. Express 1, 045101 (2014).

  27. 27.

    et al. Moving nanostructures: pulse-induced positioning of supramolecular assemblies. ACS Nano 7, 191–197 (2013).

  28. 28.

    et al. Electric field-induced isomerization of azobenzene by STM. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 128, 14446–14447 (2006).

  29. 29.

    et al. Chiral recognition of zinc phthalocyanine on Cu(100) surface. Appl. Phys. Lett. 100, 081602 (2012).

  30. 30.

    et al. Room-temperature tracking of chiral recognition process at the single-molecule level. Nano Res. 8, 3505–3511 (2015).

  31. 31.

    et al. Long-range repulsive interaction between molecules on a metal surface induced by charge transfer. Phys. Rev. Lett. 99, 176103 (2007).

  32. 32.

    , , & Molecule cascades. Science 298, 1381–1387 (2002).

  33. 33.

    et al. Rotation of a single molecule within a supramolecular bearing. Science 281, 531–533 (1998).

  34. 34.

    & Efficiency of ab-initio total energy calculations for metals and semiconductors using a plane-wave basis set. Comp. Mater. Sci. 6, 15–50 (1996).

  35. 35.

    & Efficient iterative schemes for ab initio total-energy calculations using a plane-wave basis set. Phys. Rev. B 54, 11169–11186 (1996).

  36. 36.

    et al. Atoms, molecules, solids, and surfaces: applications of the generalized gradient approximation for exchange and correlation. Phys. Rev. B 46, 6671–6687 (1992).

  37. 37.

    , & Van der Waals density functionals applied to solids. Phys. Rev. B 83, 195131 (2011).

Download references

Acknowledgements

This work was supported financially by the Natural Science Foundation of China (grants 61474059, U1432129 and 11504158) and the National Key Basic Research Program of China (2013CB934200).

Author information

Author notes

    • Chao Li
    •  & Zhongping Wang

    These authors contributed equally to this work.

Affiliations

  1. Department of Physics, Nanchang University, Nanchang 330031, China

    • Chao Li
    • , Zhongping Wang
    • , Yan Lu
    • , Xiaoqing Liu
    •  & Li Wang

Authors

  1. Search for Chao Li in:

  2. Search for Zhongping Wang in:

  3. Search for Yan Lu in:

  4. Search for Xiaoqing Liu in:

  5. Search for Li Wang in:

Contributions

L.W. conceived and designed the experiment, discussed and analysed data, and wrote the manuscript. C.L. and Z.W. performed sample preparation and STM. C.L., Z.W., Y.L. and X.L. analysed the data. Y.L. performed the DFT calculations and theoretical analyses. All authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Li Wang.

Supplementary information

PDF files

  1. 1.

    Supplementary information

    Supplementary information

Videos

  1. 1.

    Supplementary information

    Supplementary Movie 1

  2. 2.

    Supplementary information

    Supplementary Movie 2

  3. 3.

    Supplementary information

    Supplementary Movie 3

  4. 4.

    Supplementary information

    Supplementary Movie 4

About this article

Publication history

Received

Accepted

Published

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nnano.2017.179