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

Wenyu Zhang, Erica Deionno, William R. Dichtel, Lei Fang, Ali Trabolsi, John Carl Olsen, Diego Benítez, James R. Heath, J. Fraser Stoddart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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 π-electron rich and π-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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1487-1495
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 7 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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