Remotely controlled isomer selective molecular switching

Verena Schendel, Bogdana Borca, Ivan Pentegov, Tomasz Michnowicz, Ulrike Kraft, Hagen Klauk, Peter Wahl, Uta Schlickum, Klaus Kern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Nonlocal addressing—the “remote control”—of molecular switches promises more efficient processing for information technology, where fast speed of switching is essential. The surface state of the (111) facets of noble metals, a confined two-dimensional electron gas, provides a medium that enables transport of signals over large distances and hence can be used to address an entire ensemble of molecules simultaneously with a single stimulus. In this study we employ this characteristic to trigger a conformational switch in anthradithiophene (ADT) molecules by injection of hot carriers from a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) tip into the surface state of Cu(111). The carriers propagate laterally and trigger the switch in molecules at distances as far as 100 nm from the tip location. The switching process is shown to be long-ranged, fully reversible, and isomer selective, discriminating between cis and trans diastereomers, enabling maximum control.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-97
JournalNano Letters
Issue number1
Early online date30 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jan 2016


  • Molecular switches
  • STM
  • Surface state
  • Nonlocal reactions
  • Organic-metal interface


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