Ultrahigh-yield on-surface synthesis and assembly of circumcoronene into a chiral electronic Kagome-honeycomb lattice

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Science Advances  15 Jan 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 3, eabf0269
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abf0269


On-surface synthesis has revealed remarkable potential in the fabrication of atomically precise nanographenes. However, surface-assisted synthesis often involves multiple-step cascade reactions with competing pathways, leading to a limited yield of target nanographene products. Here, we devise a strategy for the ultrahigh-yield synthesis of circumcoronene molecules on Cu(111) via surface-assisted intramolecular dehydrogenation of the rationally designed precursor, followed by methyl radical-radical coupling and aromatization. An elegant electrostatic interaction between circumcoronenes and metallic surface drives their self-organization into an extended superlattice, as revealed by bond-resolved scanning probe microscopy measurements. Density functional theory and tight-binding calculations reveal that unique hexagonal zigzag topology of circumcoronenes, along with their periodic electrostatic landscape, confines two-dimensional electron gas in Cu(111) into a chiral electronic Kagome-honeycomb lattice with two emergent electronic flat bands. Our findings open up a new route for the high-yield fabrication of elusive nanographenes with zigzag topologies and their superlattices with possible nontrivial electronic properties.

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