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Single Molecule Switches and Molecular Self-Assembly: Low Temperature STM Investigations and Manipulations

by Iancu, Violeta

Abstract (Summary)
This dissertation is devoted to single molecule investigations and manipulations of two porphyrin-based molecules, chlorophyll-a and Co-porphyrin. The molecules are adsorbed on metallic substrates and studied at low temperatures using a scanning tunneling microscope. The electronic, structural and mechanical properties of the molecules are investigated in detail with atomic level precision. Chlorophyll-a is the key ingredient in photosynthesis processes while Co-porphyrin is a magnetic molecule that represents the recent emerging field of molecular spintronics. Using the scanning tunneling microscope tip and the substrate as electrodes, and the molecules as active ingredients, single molecule switches made of these two molecules are demonstrated. The first switch, a multiple and reversible mechanical switch, is realized by using chlorophyll-a where the energy transfer of a single tunneling electron is used to rotate a C-C bond of the molecule’s tail on a Au(111) surface. Here, the detailed underlying switching mechanisms are uncovered from the statistical analyses conducted over 1200 switching events together with the support of geometrically relaxed parametric calculations. The second switch, a spintronic switch, uses Co-porphyrin conformational changes to tune the spin-electron interaction between the Co atom and Cu(111) electrons. A change in the molecular conformation, from saddle to planar, leads to enhanced spin-electron coupling strength, and consequently, elevated Kondo temperatures. Self-assembly process is exploited for both the molecules and the analyses reveal important information regarding the layer growth and the electronic differences that appear due to the modified molecule-substrate environment.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Ohio University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:stm molecular switches chlorophyll a kondo effect self assembly

ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/01/2006

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