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Nano Lett. 2017 Feb 8;17(2):856-861. doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.6b04139. Epub 2017 Jan 12.

Stereoelectronic Effect-Induced Conductance Switching in Aromatic Chain Single-Molecule Junctions.

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Beijing National Laboratory for Molecular Sciences, State Key Laboratory for Structural Chemistry of Unstable and Stable Species, College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering, Peking University , Beijing 100871, China.
Department of Applied Physics, University of Tokyo , Hongo, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan.
Beijing National Laboratory for Molecular Sciences, CAS Key Laboratory of Organic Solids, Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences , Beijing 100190, China.
Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences , Beijing 100190, People's Republic of China.
Key Laboratory for the Physics and Chemistry of Nanodevices, Department of Electronics, Peking University , Beijing 100871, China.
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, College of Engineering, Peking University , Beijing 100871, China.


Biphenyl, as the elementary unit of organic functional materials, has been widely used in electronic and optoelectronic devices. However, over decades little has been fundamentally understood regarding how the intramolecular conformation of biphenyl dynamically affects its transport properties at the single-molecule level. Here, we establish the stereoelectronic effect of biphenyl on its electrical conductance based on the platform of graphene-molecule single-molecule junctions, where a specifically designed hexaphenyl aromatic chain molecule is covalently sandwiched between nanogapped graphene point contacts to create stable single-molecule junctions. Both theoretical and temperature-dependent experimental results consistently demonstrate that phenyl twisting in the aromatic chain molecule produces different microstates with different degrees of conjugation, thus leading to stochastic switching between high- and low-conductance states. These investigations offer new molecular design insights into building functional single-molecule electrical devices.


Single molecule junction; biphenyl; stereoelectronic effect; switch

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