Electron Transport in Ferrocenes Linked by Molecular Wires
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A large variety of diferrocenyl compounds bridged by an organic wire fragment in a generic form of -CH=CH-X-CH=CH- were first synthesized, in which the X unit is a functional group/atom. These compounds were studied by structural analysis, electrochemistry, intervalence NIR absorption and other spectroscopic techniques. The results indicated that metal-ligand redox matching is most essential in facilitating long-range electron transfer in the mixed-valence complexes. A series of doubly-bridged diferrocenyl compounds and wire-linked triferrocenes were also synthesized and studied. All doubly-bridged diferrocenyl compounds demonstrated nearly doubled electronic coupling in comparison to their singly-bridged analogues. Thus the use of parallel wires in such systems represents a facile approach to improve communication in molecular electronics. For triferrocenes linked by symmetric wires, the electronic interaction between the redox-active centers was rather dynamic when the bridging component was short or the charge was delocalized among the ligand and metal centers. For triferrocenes bridged by asymmetric wires, depending on the direction of the polar linking chain, the central ferrocene becomes a molecular switch, turning on or off the communication between the two end ferrocenes. Finally, to eliminate the metal-ligand orbital mixing problem, we also bound the wires with two redox-active styrylpyrrole termini, for which the molecules are purely organic. It was found that when the ð-conjugation was maintained, the oligomers were fully delocalized systems.