Dynamics of Spatially Confined Bisphenol A Trimers in a Unimolecular Network on Ag(111)
Bisphenol A (BPA) aggregates on Ag(111) shows a polymorphism between two supramolecular motifs leading to formation of distinct networks depending on thermal energy. With rising temperature a dimeric pairing scheme reversibly converts into a trimeric motif, which forms a hexagonal superstructure with complex dynamic characteristics. The trimeric arrangements notably organize spontaneously into a self-assembled one-component array with supramolecular BPA rotors embedded in a two-dimensional stator sublattice. By varying the temperature, the speed of the rotors can be controlled as monitored by direct visualization. A combination of scanning tunneling microscopy and dispersion corrected density-functional tight-binding (DFTB-vdW(surf)) based molecular modeling reveals the exact atomistic position of each molecule within the assembly as well as the driving force for the formation of the supramolecular rotors.