Mechanically-interlocked molecules have been considered for many years only aesthetically appealing structures but nowadays they are finding interesting applications in the field of artificial molecular machines and electronic devices. Improved template-directed protocols have allowed highly programmable and efficient syntheses of rotaxanes and catenanes. In particular those compounds which exhibit bi- and multistability are reliable candidates for the construction of molecular switches. Recently, great efforts have been directed towards the incorporation of these molecules into integrated nanosystems. The first step of this challenge consists in transferring such mechanically-interlocked molecules from solution to surfaces without altering their switching properties. An overview of catenanes that have been synthesized and deposited into surfaces with the aid of various techniques is presented, furthermore some attempts of incorporating such compounds into molecular devices are discussed.
Keywords: Bistability, catenanes, Langmuir-Blodgett films, mechanically-interlocked structures, molecular devices, self-assembled monolayers, template-directed synthesis