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Published February 7, 2011 | Published
Journal Article Open

A solid-state switch containing an electrochemically switchable bistable poly[n]rotaxane


Electrochemically switchable bistable main-chain poly[n]rotaxanes have been synthesised using a threading-followed-by-stoppering approach and were incorporated into solid-state, molecular switch tunnel junction devices. In contrast to single-station poly[n]rotaxanes of similar structure, the bistable polymers do not fold into compact conformations held together by donor–acceptor interactions between alternating stacked p-electron rich and p-electron deficient aromatic systems. Films of the poly[n]rotaxane were incorporated into the devices by spin-coating, and their thickness was easily controlled. The switching functionality was characterised both (1) in solution by cyclic voltammetry and (2) in devices containing either two metal electrodes or one metal and one silicon electrode. Devices with one silicon electrode displayed hysteretic responses with applied voltage, allowing the devices to be switched between two conductance states, whereas devices containing two metal electrodes did not exhibit switching behaviour. The electrochemically switchable bistable poly[n]rotaxanes offer significant advantages in synthetic efficiency and ease of device fabrication as compared to bistable small-molecule [2]rotaxanes.

Additional Information

© 2011 The Royal Society of Chemistry. Received 14th July 2010, Accepted 3rd October 2010. This paper is part of a Journal of Materials Chemistry themed issue in celebration of the 70th birthday of Professor Fred Wudl. This work was supported under the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) through its focus centers on Functional Engineered NanoArchitectonics (FENA) and Materials, Structures, and Devices (MSD), the MolApps Program funded by the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and The Aerospace Corporation's Independent Research and Development Program. The authors gratefully acknowledge Brendan Foran of The Aerospace Corporation for the transmission electron microscopy.

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