Self-patterned molecular photoswitching in nanoscale surface assemblies

Niv Levy, Matthew J. Comstock, Jongweon Cho, Luis Berbil-Bautista, Armen Kirakosian, Frank Lauterwasser, Daniel A. Poulsen, Jean Frechet, Michael F. Crommie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Photomechanical switching (photoisomerization) of molecules at a surface is found to strongly depend on molecule-molecule interactions and molecule-surface orientation. Scanning tunneling microscopy was used to image photoswitching behavior in the single-molecule limit of tetra-iert-butyl-azobenzene molecules adsorbed onto Au(111) at 30 K. Photoswitching behavior varied strongly with surface molecular island structure, and self-patterned stripes of switching and nonswitching regions were observed having ∼10 nm pitch. These findings can be summarized into photoswitching selection rules that highlight the important role played by a molecule's nanoscale environment in determining its switching properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)935-939
Number of pages5
JournalNano Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 11 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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