Competitive Self-Assembly

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Science  22 Apr 2011:
Vol. 332, Issue 6028, pp. 398-399
DOI: 10.1126/science.332.6028.398-d

Two-dimensional networks can form when polyvalent organic molecules interact with mobile metal atoms on a surface. Shi et al., using scanning tunneling microscopy and low-energy electron diffraction, found that 1,3,5-tris(pyridyl)-benzene (TPyB) formed networks with copper and iron with unusually high thermal stability on the (111) surface of gold. Hexagonal copper networks formed through bidentate binding by TPyB molecules were stable up to 600 K, whereas trigonal iron networks formed through tridentate binding were stable up to ∼680 K. Annealing a sample prepared at 293 K, with both networks present, to 400 K resulted in the formation of the thermodynamically more stable iron network and copper islands. However, a copper network formed near room temperature (293 K) was kinetically stable in the presence of added iron atoms up to 449 K, and traces of it remained up to about 500 K. — PDS

J. Am. Chem. Soc. 133, 10.1021/ja2010434 (2011).

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