Single-molecule detection of dihydroazulene photo-thermal reaction using break junction technique

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Charge transport by tunnelling is one of the most ubiquitous elementary processes in nature. Small structural changes in a molecular junction can lead to significant difference in the single-molecule electronic properties, offering a tremendous opportunity to examine a reaction on the single-molecule scale by monitoring the conductance changes. Here, we explore the potential of the single-molecule break junction technique in the detection of photo-thermal reaction processes of a photochromic dihydroazulene/vinylheptafulvene system. Statistical analysis of the break junction experiments provides a quantitative approach for probing the reaction kinetics and reversibility, including the occurrence of isomerization during the reaction. The product ratios observed when switching the system in the junction does not follow those observed in solution studies (both experiment and theory), suggesting that the junction environment was perturbing the process significantly. This study opens the possibility of using nano-structured environments like molecular junctions to tailor product ratios in chemical reactions.

TidsskriftNature Communications
Antal sider7
StatusUdgivet - 2017

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