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Durham University

Department of Chemistry

Publication details for Prof. Andrew Beeby

Zhang, W., Gan, S., Vezzoli, A., Davidson, R.J., Milan, D.C., Luzyanin, K.V., Higgins, S.J. Nichols, R.J., Beeby, A., Low, P.J., Li, B. & Niu, L. (2016). Single-Molecule Conductance of Viologen–Cucurbit[8]uril Host–Guest Complexes. ACS Nano 10(5): 5212-5220.

Author(s) from Durham


The local molecular environment is a critical factor which should be taken into account when measuring single-molecule electrical properties in condensed media or in the design of future molecular electronic or single molecule sensing devices. Supramolecular interactions can be used to control the local environment in molecular assemblies and have been used to create microenvironments, for instance, for chemical reactions. Here, we use supramolecular interactions to create microenvironments which influence the electrical conductance of single molecule wires. Cucurbit[8]uril (CB[8]) with a large hydrophobic cavity was used to host the viologen (bipyridinium) molecular wires forming a 1:1 supramolecular complex. Significant increases in the viologen wire single molecule conductances are observed when it is threaded into CB[8] due to large changes of the molecular microenvironment. The results were interpreted within the framework of a Marcus-type model for electron transfer as arising from a reduction in outer-sphere reorganization energy when the viologen is confined within the hydrophobic CB[8] cavity.