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Phys Rev Lett. 2003 Feb 14;90(6):066107. Epub 2003 Feb 14.

Direct determination of the energy required to operate a single molecule switch.

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Institute of Physics, University of Basel, Klingelbergstrasse 82, CH-4056 Basel, Switzerland.


Using a noncontact atomic-force and scanning-tunneling microscope in ultrahigh vacuum, we have measured the switching energy of a single molecule switch based on the rotation of a di-butyl-phenyl leg in a Cu-tetra-3,5 di-tertiary-butyl-phenyl porphyrin. The mechanics and intramolecular conformation of the switched leg is controlled by the tip apex of the noncontact atomic-force microscope. The comparison between experimental and calculated force curves shows that the rotation of the leg requires an energy less than 100 x 10(-21) J, which is 4 orders of magnitude lower than state-of-the-art transistors.

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