Coverage dependent molecular assembly of anthraquinone on Au(111)

J Chem Phys. 2017 Nov 14;147(18):184701. doi: 10.1063/1.4999623.


A scanning tunneling microscopy study of anthraquinone (AQ) on the Au(111) surface shows that the molecules self-assemble into several structures depending on the local surface coverage. At high coverages, a close-packed saturated monolayer is observed, while at low coverages, mobile surface molecules coexist with stable chiral hexamer clusters. At intermediate coverages, a disordered 2D porous network interlinking close-packed islands is observed in contrast to the giant honeycomb networks observed for the same molecule on Cu(111). This difference verifies the predicted extreme sensitivity [J. Wyrick et al., Nano Lett. 11, 2944 (2011)] of the pore network to small changes in the surface electronic structure. Quantitative analysis of the 2D pore network reveals that the areas of the vacancy islands are distributed log-normally. Log-normal distributions are typically associated with the product of random variables (multiplicative noise), and we propose that the distribution of pore sizes for AQ on Au(111) originates from random linear rate constants for molecules to either desorb from the surface or detach from the region of a nucleated pore.