Quinone-based switches for candidate building blocks of molecular junctions with QTAIM and the stress tensor

Tianlv Xu, Lingling Wang, Yang Ping, Tanja van Mourik, Herbert Früchtl, Steven R. Kirk, Samantha Jenkins

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The current work investigates candidate building blocks based on molecular junctions from hydrogen transfer tautomerization in the benzoquinone-like core of an azophenine molecule with QTAIM and the recently introduced stress tensor trajectory analysis. We find that in particular the stress tensor trajectories are well suited to describe the mechanism of the switching process. The effects of an Fe-dopant atom coordinated to the quinone ring, as well as F and Cl substitution of different ring-hydrogens, are investigated and the new QTAIM and stress tensor analysis is used to draw conclusions on the effectiveness of such molecules as molecular switches in nano-sized electronic circuits. We find that the coordinated Fe-dopant greatly improves the switching properties, both in terms of the tautomerisation barrier that has to be crossed in the switching process and the expected conductance behavior, while the effects of hydrogen substitution are more subtle. The absence of the Fe-dopant atom led to impaired functioning of the switch ‘OFF’ mechanism as well coinciding with the formation of closed-shell H–––H bond critical points that indicated a strained or electron deficient environment.  Our analysis demonstrates promise for future use in design of molecular electronic devices.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere25676
JournalInternational Journal of Quantum Chemistry
VolumeEarly View
Early online date6 Aug 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Aug 2018


  • Quinone-based switches
  • Stress tensor
  • Stress tensor trajectory


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