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2D Random Organization of Racemic Amino Acid Monolayers Driven by Nanoscale Adsorption Footprints: Proline on Cu(110)


  • R.R. and M.F. acknowledge the EPSRC, NERC, EU 7th framework small scale collaborative project RESOLVE (NMP4-SL-2008-214340), and the University of Liverpool for equipment grants, funding and a studentship for M.F. M.P acknowledges the Swedish Research Council (VR) and the Marie Curie Research Training Network PRAIRIES, contract MRTN-CT-2006-035810. M.S.D. acknowledges the University of Liverpool for funding of a postdoctoral fellowship and computational resources.


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Amino acids find their feet: Scanning tunneling microscopy of racemic (R,S)-proline on Cu(110) reveals rows of random chiral amino acid sequences, showing that organization is not governed by molecular chirality. Instead, the system is dictated by a strict heterochiral adsorption-footprint template, in which each adsorption position can be occupied by either enantiomer (see picture), resulting in a random solid solution in 2D.