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Reversible Chiral Switching of Bis(phthalocyaninato) Terbium(III) on a Metal Surface

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Institute of Applied Physics, Hamburg University, 20355 Hamburg, Germany
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio 45701, United States
§ Institute of Nanotechnology, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, 76344 Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen, Germany
IPCMS, Université de Strasbourg, 67034 Strasbourg, France
Cite this: Nano Lett. 2012, 12, 8, 3931–3935
Publication Date (Web):July 10, 2012
Copyright © 2012 American Chemical Society

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    We demonstrate a reversible chiral switching of bis(phthalocyaninato) terbium(III) molecules on an Ir(111) surface by low temperature scanning tunneling microscopy. With an azimuthal rotation of its upper phthalocyanine ligand, the molecule can be switched between a chiral and an achiral configuration actuated by respective inelastic electron tunneling and local current heating. Moreover, the molecular chiral configuration can be interchanged between left and right handedness during the switching manipulations, thereby opening up potential nanotechnological applications.

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    Additional STM images show the chirality of four-lobed TbPc2 molecules on the Ir(111) surface with different orientations, the threshold switching bias of TbPc2 against tip–sample separations from the chiral to the achiral state, and TbPc2 molecules all exhibiting eight-lobed structures after a low temperature molecule deposition. This material is available free of charge via the Internet at

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