Ladder-type conjugated molecules as robust multi-state single-molecule switches

Jialing Li, Bo Ji Peng, Shi Li, Daniel P. Tabor, Lei Fang, Charles M. Schroeder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ladder-type molecular structures greatly enhance the chemical stability of oligoaniline derivatives and impart well-defined physical properties to multiple molecular charge states. In this work, we characterize the charge transport properties of a ladder-type cyclohexadiene-1,4-diimine derivative at various protonation, lithiation, and oxidation states using single-molecule techniques. Our results show that a ladder-type oligoaniline derivative serves as a robust and reversible molecular switch with over two orders of magnitude changes in molecular conductance when controlled using chemical or electrochemical stimuli. Experimental results are complemented by molecular modeling using density functional theory (DFT) and nonequilibrium Green's function-DFT (NEGF-DFT) to elucidate charge transport mechanisms at different molecular states. Overall, this work provides new strategies for advancing the stability, programmability, and efficiency of molecular charge transport using ladder-type single-molecule switches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2282-2297
Number of pages16
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 10 2023


  • SDG11: Sustainable cities and communities
  • SDG7: Affordable and clean energy
  • STM-BJ
  • ladder type
  • redox-active molecules
  • scanning tunneling microscope break-junction
  • single-molecule electronics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Materials Chemistry


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