A. Della Pia, M. Riello, J. Lawrence, D. Stassen, T. S. Jones, D. Bonifazi, A. De Vita, G. Costantini,
Chem. – Eur. J. 2016, 22, 8105-8112
Two-dimensional metal–organic nanostructures based on the binding of ketone groups and metal atoms were fabricated by depositing pyrene-4,5,9,10-tetraone (PTO) molecules on a Cu(111) surface. The strongly electronegative ketone moieties bind to either copper adatoms from the substrate or codeposited iron atoms. In the former case, scanning tunnelling microscopy images reveal the development of an extended metal–organic supramolecular structure. Each copper adatom coordinates to two ketone ligands of two neighbouring PTO molecules, forming chains that are linked together into large islands through secondary van der Waals interactions. Deposition of iron atoms leads to a transformation of this assembly resulting from the substitution of the metal centres. Density functional theory calculations reveal that the driving force for the metal substitution is primarily determined by the strength of the ketone–metal bond, which is higher for Fe than for Cu. This second class of nanostructures displays a structural dependence on the rate of iron deposition.