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Modern electronic devices perform their defined action because of the complete reliability of their individual active components (transistors, switches, diodes, and so forth). For instance, to encode basic computer units (bits) an electrical switch can be used. The reliability of the switch ensures that the desired outcome (the component’s final state, 0 or 1) can be selected with certainty. No practical data storage device would otherwise exist. This reliability criterion will necessarily need to hold true for future molecular electronics to have the opportunity to emerge as a viable miniaturization alternative to our current silicon-based technology. Molecular electronics target the use of single-molecules to perform the actions of individual electronic components. On-demand final state control over a bistable unimolecular component has therefore been one of the main challenges in the past decade (1−5) but has yet to be achieved. In this Letter, we demonstrate how control of the final state of a surface-supported bistable single molecule switch can be realized. On the basis of the observations and deductions presented here, we further suggest an alternative strategy to achieve final state control in unimolecular bistable switches.
- Scanning tunneling microscopy
- Density functional theory
- Molecular switches
- Inelastic tunneling
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