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Phys Rev Lett. 2005 Oct 14;95(16):166101. Epub 2005 Oct 11.

Unidirectional adsorbate motion on a high-symmetry surface: "walking" molecules can stay the course.

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Pierce Hall, University of California, Riverside, 92521, USA.


Step edges and low-symmetry faces of metal crystals can restrict the diffusive motion of adsorbates, yet they offer little flexibility with regards to the location and/or direction of the guided motion. We show inherently unidirectional motion of an organic molecule on a high-symmetry thermodynamic-equilibrium metal surface [Cu(111)]. Sequential placement of the substrate linkers of 9,10-dithioanthracene prevents it from rotating or veering off course. A combination of low temperature scanning tunneling microscopy and density functional theory simulations provide atomistic insight.

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