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Control of molecular organization and energy level alignment by an electronically nanopatterned boron nitride template


Joshi, Sushobhan; Bischoff, Felix; Koitz, Ralph; Ecija, David; Seufert, Knud; Seitsonen, Ari Paavo; Hutter, Juerg; Diller, Katharina; Urgel, Jose I; Sachdev, Hermann; Barth, Johannes V; Auwaerter, Willi (2014). Control of molecular organization and energy level alignment by an electronically nanopatterned boron nitride template. ACS Nano, 8(1):430-442.

Abstract

Suitable templates to steer the formation of nanostructure arrays on surfaces are indispensable in nanoscience. Recently, atomically thin sp(2)-bonded layers such as graphene or boron nitride (BN) grown on metal supports have attracted considerable interest due to their potential geometric corrugation guiding the positioning of atoms, metallic clusters or molecules. Here, we demonstrate three specific functions of a geometrically smooth, but electronically corrugated, sp(2)/metal interface, namely, BN/Cu(111), qualifying it as a unique nanoscale template. As functional adsorbates we employed free-base porphine (2H-P), a prototype tetrapyrrole compound, and tetracyanoquinodimethane (TCNQ), a well-known electron acceptor. (i) The electronic moirons of the BN/Cu(111) interface trap both 2H-P and TCNQ, steering self-organized growth of arrays with extended molecular assemblies. (ii) We report an effective decoupling of the trapped molecules from the underlying metal support by the BN, which allows for a direct visualization of frontier orbitals by scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). (iii) The lateral molecular positioning in the superstructured surface determines the energetic level alignment; i.e., the energy of the frontier orbitals, and the electronic gap are tunable.

Suitable templates to steer the formation of nanostructure arrays on surfaces are indispensable in nanoscience. Recently, atomically thin sp(2)-bonded layers such as graphene or boron nitride (BN) grown on metal supports have attracted considerable interest due to their potential geometric corrugation guiding the positioning of atoms, metallic clusters or molecules. Here, we demonstrate three specific functions of a geometrically smooth, but electronically corrugated, sp(2)/metal interface, namely, BN/Cu(111), qualifying it as a unique nanoscale template. As functional adsorbates we employed free-base porphine (2H-P), a prototype tetrapyrrole compound, and tetracyanoquinodimethane (TCNQ), a well-known electron acceptor. (i) The electronic moirons of the BN/Cu(111) interface trap both 2H-P and TCNQ, steering self-organized growth of arrays with extended molecular assemblies. (ii) We report an effective decoupling of the trapped molecules from the underlying metal support by the BN, which allows for a direct visualization of frontier orbitals by scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). (iii) The lateral molecular positioning in the superstructured surface determines the energetic level alignment; i.e., the energy of the frontier orbitals, and the electronic gap are tunable.

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21 citations in Web of Science®
22 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Chemistry
Dewey Decimal Classification:540 Chemistry
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:17 Oct 2014 11:47
Last Modified:26 Apr 2016 10:08
Publisher:American Chemical Society (ACS)
ISSN:1936-0851
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1021/nn406024m
PubMed ID:24328081
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-99018

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