Strain induced dewetting of a molecular system: bimodal growth of PTCDA on NaCl

Phys Rev Lett. 2008 May 9;100(18):186104. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.100.186104. Epub 2008 May 9.


Submonolayer coverages of the molecule 3,4,9,10-perylene tetracarboxylic dianhydride (PTCDA) deposited on NaCl(001) surfaces were imaged with high resolution noncontact-atomic force microscopy. Two island types were observed: monolayer islands with a p3x3 epitaxy at low coverage and a mixture of these and bulklike crystallites at higher coverage. The transition between the pure monolayer islands and mixed islands occurs at approximately 0.85 ML, corresponding to a complete p3x3 layer. Calculations show the p3x3 epitaxy to be incompatible with a multilayer crystal of PTCDA. Consequently, the growth of additional layers results in an adaptation of the interface structure forcing a dewetting transition.