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Chiral recognition, spin filtering and molecular machines in two-dimensional molecular systems

Date : Friday, January 17th, 2020 13:30 - 14:30 Place : Seminar Room 5 (A615), 6th Floor, ISSP Lecturer : Prof. Karl-Heinz Ernst Affiliation : Empa, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology and University of Zurich, Switzerland Committee Chair : Yukio Hasegawa (63325)

Molecular recognition among chiral molecules on surfaces is of paramount importance in biomineralization, enantioselective heterogeneous catalysis, and for the separation of chiral molecules into their two mirror-image isomers (enantiomers) via crystallization or chromatography. Understanding the principles of molecular recognition in general, however, is a difficult task and calls for investigation of appropriate model systems. One popular approach is thereby studying intermolecular interactions on well-defined solid surfaces, which allows in particular the use of scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). Examples of chiral amplification via the so-called ‘sergeant-and-soldiers’ effect as well as manipulation of chiral adsorbates via inelastic electron tunneling will be presented. In a Pasteur-type experiment at the nanoscale, molecules that constitute a dimer are spatially separated with a molecular STM tip and their absolute handedness is determined with submolecular resolution STM.

Moreover, we report spin-dependent filtering of electrons by monolayers of these helical molecules. Finally, the first successful electrical current-driven unidirectional motion of a synthetic molecule, the so-called nanocar, will be presented and compared to recent results obtained for smaller molecular machines propelled by inelastic electron tunneling.


(Published on: Monday January 6th, 2020)