Designing a robust single-molecule switch

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Science  17 Jun 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6292, pp. 1394-1395
DOI: 10.1126/science.aag0827

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In molecular electronics, researchers combine atomic control of molecular structure with high-precision nanofabrication techniques to connect individual molecules to tiny electrodes (1). The aim is to understand electrical transport, such as conductivity in individual molecules, and to uncover phenomena with practical utility in nanoelectronic devices. On page 1443 of this issue, Jia et al. (2) report robust, room-temperature optoelectronic switching of a single molecule connected to conducting carbon (graphene) contacts. In terms of the magnitude of the switching effect, its reversibility, and stability at room temperature, the results represent the state of the art for single-molecule electronics.