Get access

Organic Molecules Reconstruct Nanostructures on Ionic Surfaces

Authors

  • Thomas Trevethan,

    Corresponding author
    1. Advanced Institute for Materials Research, Tohoku University, Sendai 980–8577, Japan
    2. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK
    • Advanced Institute for Materials Research, Tohoku University, Sendai 980–8577, Japan.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Bartosz Such,

    1. Department of Physics, University of Basel, Klingelbergstrasse 82, 4056 Basel, Switzerland
    2. Centre for Nanometer-Scale Science and Advanced Materials (NANOSAM), Jagiellonian University, Reymonta 4, 30–059 Krakow, Poland
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Thilo Glatzel,

    1. Department of Physics, University of Basel, Klingelbergstrasse 82, 4056 Basel, Switzerland
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Shigeki Kawai,

    1. Department of Physics, University of Basel, Klingelbergstrasse 82, 4056 Basel, Switzerland
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Alexander L. Shluger,

    1. Advanced Institute for Materials Research, Tohoku University, Sendai 980–8577, Japan
    2. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Ernst Meyer,

    1. Department of Physics, University of Basel, Klingelbergstrasse 82, 4056 Basel, Switzerland
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Paula de Mendoza,

    1. Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ), Av. Països Catalans 16, 43007 Tarragona, Spain
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Antonio M. Echavarren

    1. Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ), Av. Països Catalans 16, 43007 Tarragona, Spain
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Modification and functionalization of the atomic-scale structure of insulating surfaces is fundamental to catalysis, self-assembly, and single-molecule technologies. Specially designed syn-5,10,15-tris(4-cyanophenylmethyl)truxene molecules can reshape features on an ionic KBr (001) surface. Atomic force microscopy images demonstrate that both KBr monolayer islands and pits can reshape from rectangular to round structures, a process which is directly facilitated by molecular adsorption. Simulations reveal that the mechanism of the surface reconstruction consists of collective atomic hops of ions on the step edges of the islands and pits, which correlate with molecular motion. The energy barriers for individual processes are reduced by the presence of the adsorbed molecules, which cause surface structural changes. These results show how appropriately designed organic molecules can modify surface morphology on insulating surfaces. Such strongly adsorbed molecules can also serve as anchoring sites for building new nanostructures on inert insulating surfaces.

Ancillary