Journal article

Epitaxy-Induced Assembly and Enantiomeric Switching of an On-Surface Formed Dinuclear Organocobalt Complex

We report on the surface-guided synthesis of a dinuclear organocobalt complex, its self-assembly into a complex nanoarchitecture, and a single-molecule level investigation of its switching behavior. Initially, an organic layer is prepared by depositing hexakis((trimethylsily)ethynyl)-benzene under ultra-high-vacuum conditions onto Ag(111). After Co dosage at 200 K, low-temperature scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) reveals an epitaxy-mediated organization mechanism of molecules and on surface formed organometallic complexes. The dinuclear complexes contain two bis(eta(2)-alkynyl) pi-tweezer motifs, each stabilizing a single Co atom and express two enantiomers due to a conformation twist. The chirality is transferred to the two-dimensional architecture, whereby its Co adatoms are located at the corners of a rhombitrihexagonal tessellation due to the systematic arrangement and anchoring of the complexes. Extensive density functional theory simulations support our interpretation of an epitaxy-guided surface tessellation and its chiral character. Additionally, STM tip-assisted manipulation experiments on isolated dinuclear complexes reveal controlled and reversible switching between the enantiomeric states via inelastic electron processes. After activation by bias pulses, structurally modified complexes display a distinctive Kondo feature attributed to metastable Co configurations.


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