An Electrochromic Tristable Molecular Switch

Junling Sun, Yilei Wu, Yuping Wang, Zhichang Liu, Chuyang Cheng, Karel J. Hartlieb, Michael R. Wasielewski*, J. Fraser Stoddart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


A tristable [2]catenane, composed of a macrocyclic polyether incorporating 1,5-dioxynaphthalene (DNP) and tetrathiafulvalene (TTF) units along with a 4,4′-bipyridinium (BIPY•+) radical cation as three very different potential recognition sites, interlocked mechanically with the tetracationic cyclophane, cyclobis(paraquat-p-phenylene) (CBPQT4+), was synthesized by donor-acceptor templation, employing a "threading-followed-by-cyclization" approach. In this catenane, movement of the CBPQT4+ ring in its different redox states among these three potential recognition sites, with corresponding color changes, is achieved by tuning external redox potentials. In the starting state, where no external potential is applied, the ring encircles the TTF unit and displays a green color. Upon oxidation of the TTF unit, the CBPQT4+ ring moves to the DNP unit, producing a red color. Finally, if all the BIPY2+ units are reduced to BIPY•+ radical cations, the resulting CBPQT2(•+) diradical dication will migrate to the BIPY•+ unit, resulting in a purple color. These readily switchable electrochromic properties render the [2]catenane attractive for use in electro-optical devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13484-13487
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number42
StatePublished - Oct 28 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Catalysis
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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