Strong Coulomb repulsion between the two charges in a square planar mixed-valence cell in quantum cellular automata (QCA) allows us to encode the binary information in the two energetically beneficial diagonal distributions of the electronic density. In this article, we pose a question: to what extent is this condition obligatory for the design of the molecular cell? To answer this question, we examine the ability to use a square-planar cell composed of one-electron mixed valence dimers to function in QCA in a general case when the intracell Coulomb interaction U is not supposed to be extremely strong, which means that it is comparable with the characteristic electron transfer energy (violated strong U limit). Using the two-mode vibronic model treated within the semiclassical (adiabatic) and quantum-mechanical approaches, we demonstrate that strong vibronic coupling is able to create a considerable barrier between the two diagonal-type charge configurations, thus ensuring bistability and polarizability of the cells even if the Coulomb barrier is not sufficient. The cases of weak and moderate Coulomb repulsion and strong vibronic coupling are exemplified by consideration of the cation radicals of the two polycyclic derivatives of norbornadiene [C12H12]+ and [C17H16]+ with the terminal C=C chromophores playing the role of redox sites. By using the detailed ab initio data, we reveal the main characteristics of the bi-dimeric cells composed of these molecules and illustrate the pronounced effect of the vibronic recovery clearly manifesting itself in the shape of the cell–cell response function. Revealing such “vibronic recovery” of strong localization when the strong U limit is violated suggests a way to a significant expansion of the class of molecular systems suitable as QCA cells.

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