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Polarizabilities of Adsorbed and Assembled Molecules: Measuring the Conductance through Buried Contacts

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We have measured the polarizabilities of four families of molecules adsorbed to Au{111} surfaces, with structures ranging from fully saturated to fully conjugated, including single-molecule switches. Measured polarizabilities increase with increasing length and conjugation in the adsorbed molecules and are consistent with theoretical calculations. For single-molecule switches, the polarizability reflects the difference in substrate-molecule electronic coupling in the ON and OFF conductance states. Calculations suggest that the switch between the two conductance states is correlated with an oxidation state change in a nitro functional group in the switch molecules.

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