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University of Basel

13 September 2016

On-Surface Chemistry Leads to Novel Products

On-surface chemical reactions can lead to novel chemical compounds not yet synthesized by solution chemistry. The first-step, second-step, and third-step products can be analyzed in detail using a high-resolution atomic force microscope, as demonstrated in Nature Communications by scientists from the Swiss Nanoscience Institute and the Department of Physics at Basel University and their colleagues from Japan and Finland.

Catalyzed by the copper atoms of the surface, the precursor molecule alters its structure and spatial arrangement when heated gradually. The researchers were able to monitor the synthesis of the end product, which has not been synthesized yet by solution chemistry, with the aid of an ultra-high-resolution atomic force microscope. (Illustration: University of Basel, Department of Physics)
Catalyzed by the copper atoms of the surface, the precursor molecule alters its structure and spatial arrangement when heated gradually. (Illustration: University of Basel, Department of Physics)

The researchers conducted these experiments in ultra-high vacuum conditions and were able to monitor the synthesis using a high-resolution atomic force microscope with a carbon monoxide terminated tip. Comparative computer calculations generated the precise molecular structure, which perfectly matched the microscope images.

Tailored nanostructures

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