Molecular commensurability with a surface reconstruction: STM study of azobenzene on Au(111)

Phys. Rev. B 71, 113409 – Published 23 March 2005
A. Kirakosian, M. J. Comstock, Jongweon Cho, and M. F. Crommie

Abstract

Azobenzene derivatives form a unique class of photoactive molecules that have the potential for nanoscale optical applications. We have observed the self-assembly behavior of azobenzene molecules adsorbed to Au(111) using scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). We find that azobenzene creates a surprising variety of surface structures whose commensurability with the underlying Au(111) “herringbone” reconstruction is coverage dependent. Two commensurate molecular chain phases exist in the low-coverage regime, and phase conversion between these structures can be induced using the STM tip. In the high-coverage regime we observe incommensurate molecular phases as well as commensurate molecular vacancy ordering. These molecular structures reflect a coverage-dependent competition between molecule-molecule and molecule-substrate interactions.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevB.71.113409

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  • Received 1 October 2004
  • Revised 21 December 2004
  • Published 23 March 2005

© 2005 The American Physical Society

Authors & Affiliations

A. Kirakosian, M. J. Comstock, Jongweon Cho, and M. F. Crommie

  • Department of Physics, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California 94720, USA and Materials Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California 94720, USA

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