Tobias Garling, Yujin Tong, Tamim Darwish, Martin Wolf and R. Kramer Campen:
J. Phys.: Condens. Matter 29 (41), 414002 (2017), pp.9;
Surfaces whose macroscopic properties can be switched by light are potentially useful in a wide variety of applications. One such promising application is electrochemical sensors that can be gated by optically switching the electrode on or off. One way to make such a switchable electrode is by depositing a self-assembled monolayer of bistable, optically switchable molecules onto an electrode surface. Quantitative application of any such sensor requires understanding how changes in interfacial field affect the composition of photostationary states, i.e. how does electrode potential affect the extent to which the electrode is on or off when irradiated, and the structure of the SAM. Here we address these questions for a SAM of a 6-nitro-substituted spiro[2H-1-benzopyran-2,2’-indoline] covalently attached through a dithiolane linker to an Au electrode immersed in a 0.1 M solution of Tetramethylammonium hexafluorophosphate in Acetonitrile using interface-specific vibrational spectroscopy. We find that in the absence of irradiation, when the SAM is dominated by the closed spiropyran form, variations in potential of 1 V have little effect on spiropyran relative stability. In contrast, under UV irradiation small changes in potential can have dramatic effects: changes in potential of 0.2 V can completely destabilize the open, merocyanine form of the SAM relative to the spiropyran and dramatically change the chromophore orientation. Quantitatively accounting for these effects is necessary to employ this, or any other optically switchable bistable chromophore, in electrochemical applications..
The original publication is available by link DOI: 10.1088/1361-648X/aa8118