Single-molecule charge transport through positively charged electrostatic anchors

Hongliang Chen, Vitor Brasiliense, Jingshan Mo, Long Zhang, Yang Jiao, Zhu Chen, Leighton O. Jones, Gen He, Qing Hui Guo, Xiao Yang Chen, Bo Song, George C. Schatz, J. Fraser Stoddart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The charge transport in single-molecule junctions depends critically on the chemical identity of the anchor groups that are used to connect the molecular wires to the electrodes. In this research, we report a new anchoring strategy, called the electrostatic anchor, formed through the efficient Coulombic interaction between the gold electrodes and the positively charged pyridinium terminal groups. Our results show that these pyridinium groups serve as efficient electrostatic anchors forming robust gold-molecule-gold junctions. We have also observed binary switching in dicationic viologen molecular junctions, demonstrating an electron injection-induced redox switching in single-molecule junctions. We attribute the difference in low- and high-conductance states to a dicationic ground state and a radical cationic metastable state, respectively. Overall, this anchoring strategy and redox-switching mechanism could constitute the basis for a new class of redox-activated single-molecule switches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2886-2895
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Feb 24 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry

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