Li@C60 as a multi-state molecular switch

Henry J. Chandler, Minas Stefanou, Eleanor E. B. Campbell, Renald Schaub

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


The field of molecular electronics aims at advancing the miniaturization of electronic devices, by exploiting single molecules to perform the function of individual components. A molecular switch is defined as a molecule that displays stability in two or more states (e.g. “on” and “off” involving conductance, conformation etc.) and upon application of a controlled external perturbation, electric or otherwise, undergoes a reversible change such that the molecule is altered. Previous work has shown multi-state molecular switches with up to four and six distinct states. Using low temperature scanning tunnelling microscopy and spectroscopy, we report on a multi-state single molecule switch using the endohedral fullerene Li@C60 that displays 14 molecular states which can be statistically accessed. We suggest a switching mechanism that relies on resonant tunnelling via the superatom molecular orbitals (SAMOs) of the fullerene cage as a means of Li activation, thereby bypassing the typical vibronic excitation of the carbon cage that is known to cause molecular decomposition.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2283
Number of pages8
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2019


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