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Spontaneous formation of triptycene supramolecules on surfaces

In the limit of weak molecular interaction with an inorganic surface, noncovalent interactions between molecules dominate the nucleation and thin-film growth. Here, we report on the formation of three-dimensional triptycene clusters with a particularly stable structure. Once formed at the early stage of molecular adsorption, the clusters are stable for all temperatures until desorption. Furthermore, the clusters diffuse and nucleate as individual entities, therefore constituting building blocks for the later thin-film formation. High resolution scanning tunneling microscopy images indicate that the cluster is stabilized by C-H- interactions. The formation of such molecular structures at a surface is possible because the three-dimensional structure of the triptycene molecule leads to a very weak and mobile adsorption state. These results show that it is possible to investigate complex pathways in the formation of three-dimensional supramolecules at surfaces using a scanning tunneling microscope.

DOI : 10.1021/jp065149x

Voir en ligne : J. Phys. Chem. B 110, 20089-20092 (2006)