|Maier, J.; Pärs, M.; Weller, T.; Thelakkat, M.; Köhler, J.: Deliberate Switching of Single Photochromic Triads, Scientific Reports, 7, 41739 (2017) -- DOI: 10.1038/srep41739|
Photochromic molecules can be reversibly converted between two bistable conformations by light, and are considered as promising building blocks in novel macromolecular structures for sensing and imaging techniques. We have studied individual molecular triads consisting of two strong fluorophores (perylene bisimide) that are covalently linked via a photochromic unit (dithienylcyclopentene) and distinguished between deliberate switching and spontaneous blinking. It was verified that the probability for observing deliberate light-induced switching of a single triad (rather than stochastic blinking) amounts to 0.8 ± 0.1. In a few exceptional cases this probability can exceed 0.95. These numbers are sufficiently large for application in sensitive biosensing, and super-resolution imaging. This opens the possibility to develop devices that can be controlled by an external optical stimulus on a truly molecular length scale.