Highly sensitive terarylenes : synthesis, switching, and STM investigations

Abstract : Photoswitching diarylethenes, and their terarylene derivatives, are promising for the next generation optoelectronic devices because of their excellent photochemical properties. To make them viable for miniaturized electronic devices, it is necessary to study this class of molecules at the single molecular level by scanning tunneling microscopy under ultra-high vacuum (UHV STM). This thesis has three parts: 1) development of terarylenes highly sensitive to switching; (2) their modification for STM studies; and 3) results of STM investigations. To be studied at the single molecular level by STM, terarylenes with high switching sensitivity have been selected. These compounds display high quantum yields of up to 100 %. However, the cycloreversion reaction remains low so an alternative route, through a chain-reaction oxidative mechanism, has been sought. In the first part, we show that the efficiency and speed of this reaction may be controlled by attachment of aromatic groups on the reactive carbons. In the second part, we functionalized these molecules for STM studies by attaching tert-butyl and chloride groups. These substituents preserve their excellent photochemical and switching properties while tert-butyl groups show bright contrast in STM images, minimize aggregation of these molecules on the surface, and slightly decouple the molecule from the surface. The chlorine group has been introduced to direct their surface assembly on insulating substrates composed of crystalline NaCl bilayer previously grown over a metallic substrate. In the third part, results of STM are presented. We developed a new bottom-up approach for forming reproducible nanoassemblies of the unmodified terarylene at 77 K. Meanwhile, at 5 K, the terarylene functionalized with tert-butyl groups present different forms on the Ag(111) surface. From the positioning of the high-contrast tert-butyl groups and with the aid of DFT calculations, we assign different conformations of the molecule on the surface. On NaCl/Ag(111), direct visualization of the occupied and unoccupied states could be achieved. This illustrates that for these applications, molecules with appropriate properties can be interesting candidates for STM studies to obtain information at the single molecular level. Such molecules may be redesigned with a consideration of the surface as its mere presence may induce behavior previously unobserved or neglected if they were studied in solution. This thesis opens terarylenes to future applications which require a solid surface.
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Jan Patrick Dela Cruz Calupitan. Highly sensitive terarylenes : synthesis, switching, and STM investigations. Chemical engineering. Université Paul Sabatier - Toulouse III, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018TOU30016⟩. ⟨tel-02056057⟩

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