James R. Heath
Elizabeth W. Gilloon Professor & Professor of Chemistry
Caltech Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
M/C 127-72 Pasadena, CA 91125
Very few molecular properties are amenable to study across a broad range of physical environments. One such property is electrochemically driven molecular actuation, and bistable catenanes and rotaxanes provide for ideal molecular systems for investigating this property. These synthetically versatile molecular machines may be incorporated into a number of different environments. Furthermore, the large geometrical and electronic changes that accompany the electrochemically driven molecular motion yield a variety of experimental signatures for quantifying that motion. I will discuss experiments aimed at elucidating the kinetic and thermodynamic parameters of molecular switching in the solution phase, solid-state polymer electrolyte matrices, self-assembled monolayers of electrode surfaces, and molecular switch tunnel junctions. I will then discuss how we have incorporated these molecular mechanical systems into reasonably large-scale circuits (>104 devices), patterned at a device density of 1011 bits/cm2, to demonstrate memory and logic operations.