Molecular switches in infrared light

Molecular switches in infrared light

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This image is part of the feature Molecular Switches

Credit: PHILIPPE PLAILLY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Molecular switches. Samples of chemicals which act as molecular switches being lit by infrared light. When the compound is bathed in ultraviolet light, the structure of the compound is altered by a bond being made between two thiophen (carbon- sulphur) rings. This allows the electrons of the molecule to roam over the entire structure, and the molecule will conduct a current. When bathed in infrared light, the new bond is broken and the electrons become localised, preventing the passage of a current. This switching 'on' and 'off' could be used in future optical computers, in which the chemicals would form molecule-sized switches.

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Keywords: chemical, chemistry, compounds, infrared light, mol. switch, molecular switch, photochemistry, solution

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