Rotation of a Single Molecule Within a Supramolecular Bearing

Science  24 Jul 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5376, pp. 531-533
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5376.531

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Experimental visualization and verification of a single-molecule rotor operating within a supramolecular bearing is reported. Using a scanning tunneling microscope, single molecules were observed to exist in one of two spatially defined states laterally separated by 0.26 nanometers. One was identified as a rotating state and the other as an immobilized state. Calculations of the energy barrier for rotation of these two states show that it is below the thermal energy at room temperature for the rotating state and above it for the immobilized state.

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