CORDIS - EU research results

Single Molecular Devices by Atomic Manipulation

Project description

Studying chemical reaction mechanisms at the single-molecule level

Advances in surface chemistry and characterisation techniques have recently enabled direct imaging of reaction intermediates at the single-molecule level. The EU-funded MolDAM project will use scanning tunnelling microscopy to manipulate electron charge within molecules and control molecular reactions. The project will combine expertise in solution synthesis of dedicated organic molecules, surface chemistry, atom manipulation and single-molecule characterisation techniques. Project work is expected to reveal a plethora of novel charge-driven reaction pathways far from equilibrium. By using ultrafast pulses, researchers should unravel molecular transformation mechanisms with unprecedented resolution in space and time.


Breakthroughs in on-surface chemistry and characterization techniques have recently enabled the creation of novel molecules and the direct imaging of reaction intermediates at the single molecule level. Here, by employing the novel concepts of charge manipulation within molecules and coherent control of reactions by lightwave scanning tunnelling microscopy, we will bring the control and resolution of chemical reactions to an unparalleled level. We will combine our expertise in solution synthesis of dedicated organic molecules, on-surface chemistry, atomic manipulation and single-molecule characterization with ultimate resolution in space and time. The combination of on-surface chemistry with charge-state control, possible by working on insulating supports, will unlock a plethora of novel charge-driven reaction pathways far from equilibrium. Employing ultrafast pulses, we will resolve chemical reactions with unprecedented resolution in the space and time domain step-by step unravelling the mechanisms of relevant molecular transformations. We will discover and characterize novel on-surface reactions, elusive molecules, intermediates and transition states and fabricate molecular machines and complex molecular networks with engineered topologically protected band structures.
Charge control within molecular devices on insulating supports will allow us to study electron transfer, carrier generation and recombination, redox-reactions and electroluminescence at the molecular level. Novel molecular machines will be directed by controlling single-electron charges within the device. Logic functions based on single-electron transfer will be implemented in molecular networks. Controlling and investigating these atomically defined devices on their intrinsic length and time scales will revolutionize our fundamental understanding of the molecular world with impact on fields as diverse as chemical synthesis, light harvesting, molecular machinery and computing.

Host institution

Net EU contribution
€ 3 509 625,00
8803 Rueschlikon

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Schweiz/Suisse/Svizzera Zürich Zürich
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Total cost
€ 3 509 625,00

Beneficiaries (3)