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ACS Nano. 2011 Nov 22;5(11):8877-83. doi: 10.1021/nn203041c. Epub 2011 Oct 14.

Orthogonal interactions of CO molecules on a one-dimensional substrate.

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  • 1Department of Physics and Astronomy and Petersen Institute for NanoScience and Engineering, University of Pittsburgh , Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260, USA.


We investigate the chemisorption structure of CO molecules on the quasi-one-dimensional Cu(110)-(2 × 1)-O surface by low-temperature scanning tunneling microscopy and density functional theory. Contrary to flat metal surfaces, where CO molecules adsorb in an upright geometry and interact through repulsive intermolecular interactions, we find the most stable adsorption structure of single CO molecules to be at Cu atoms of substrate Cu-O- chains with the Cu-CO unit bent by ~±45° in two equivalent structures at low coverages. At higher coverages, CO molecules combine in the same structure into highly ordered single-molecule-wide rows perpendicular to the substrate chains in an approximately 8 × 1 full monolayer structure. First-principles calculations attribute the unprecedented chemisorption behavior of CO molecules to lifting of the host Cu atoms by 1 Å from the surface Cu-O- chains, in order to optimize the bonding and reduce the repulsive interactions with the substrate. This structural distortion enables short-range intermolecular dipole-dipole attraction and creates orthogonal long-range surface-mediated repulsion leading to unusual self-assembly of CO molecules into coherent nanometer scale molecular grating structures.

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