Naphthalocyanine Switcheroo | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 85 Issue 36 | p. 34 | Concentrates
Issue Date: September 3, 2007

Naphthalocyanine Switcheroo

Department: Science & Technology
News Channels: Biological SCENE, Materials SCENE

Chemists at IBM Zurich Research Laboratory, in Switzerland, have come up with a single-molecule switch that shifts from one form to another via a simple tautomerization (Science 2007, 317, 1203). The molecular switch, based on the naphthalocyanine molecule shown, could be easier to integrate into electronic devices than molecular switches that rely upon drastic conformational changes. To probe the switching phenomenon, Peter Liljeroth, Jascha Repp, and Gerhard Meyer used a low-temperature scanning tunneling microscope (STM). They found that increasing the bias voltage between the STM tip and a naphthalocyanine molecule allows them to prompt the nitrogen-bound hydrogen atoms in the central cavity to shift to neighboring nitrogen atoms, a change that's formally equivalent to rotating the molecule 90o. The researchers suggest that this well-defined and reversible switching process would make naphthalocyanines useful building blocks for more complex molecular devices.

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