Redox-addressable single-molecule junctions incorporating a persistent organic radical



The integration of radical (open-shell) species into single-molecule junctions at non-cryogenic temperatures is a key to unlocking the potential of molecular electronics in further applications. While many efforts have been devoted to this issue, in the absence of a chemical or electrochemical potential the open-shell character is lost when in contact with the metallic electrodes. Here, the organic 6-oxo-verdazyl radical, which is stable at ambient temperatures and atmosphere, has been functionalised by aurophilic 4-thioanisole groups at the 1,5-positions and fabricated into a molecular junction using the scanning tunnelling microscope break-junction technique. The verdazyl moiety retains open-shell character within the junction even at room temperature, and electrochemical gating permits in-situ reduction of the verdazyl to the closed-shell anionic state in a single-molecule transistor configuration. In addition, the bias-dependent alignment of the open-shell resonances with respect to the electrode Fermi levels gives rise to purely electronically-driven rectifying behaviour. The demonstration of a verdazyl-based molecular junction capable of integrating radical character, transistor-like switching behaviour, and rectification in a single molecular component under ambient conditions paves the way for further studies of the electronic, magnetic, and thermoelectric properties of open-shell species.


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Supplementary material

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Supplementary Info
Methods, Additional Data