Boosting on-surface synthesis through atomic and molecular gas reagents.

Principal Investigator: Dr hab. Szymon Godlewski
Duration: 2020 - 2024

Rapid development and miniaturization of electronic devices observed in recent years forces to search for an alternative to current technology. One of the concepts is based on application of organic materials like graphene nanoribbons, nanographenes or 2-dimensional molecular nanoarchitectures. They could be regarded as promising candidates for versatile tailor-made organic materials potentially applicable in (opto)electronics, spintronics, gas storage or chemical sensing. The development requires toolkits for efficient fabrication with reproducibility down to single atom level. In this context the so-called "on-surface" synthesis is a promising approach for tailor-made materials. Despite the undoubted success several limitations still act as bottle-necks blocking synthesis of functional nanostructures or their applications. For instance application of large or chemically active/unstable molecular precursors that cannot be deposited by standard techniques would open new fields of exploration. Development of synthetic strategies out of the metallic surfaces, which frequently provide catalytic activity, is also a major challenge and its overcoming would increase the applicability of desired nanostructures on technologically most relevant semiconducting and insulating surfaces. Given the challenges the project will be focused on bringing into practice two important strategies boosting the on-surface synthesis: (1) - Implementation of the new deposition approach, which enables usage of large and/or fragile/unstable molecular precursors; (2) - Combination of atomic and/or molecular gas reagents with precursors sublimed onto crystalline substrates from evaporators. All experiments will be performed in ultra-high vacuum conditions with scanning tunneling and atomic force microscopes as main tools used for characterization of the nanostructures. The research will be conducted in close collaboration with theoreticians providing high-level calculations for experiment interpretation and analysis. Furthermore we will collaborate with top chemists who are experts in the synthesis of special molecular precursors for the on-surface experiments. This guarantees abilities to generate new attractive molecular nanostructures and their deep characterization.