Molecular Sierpiński triangles (STs), a family of elegant and well-known fractals, can be prepared on surfaces with atomic precision. Up to date, several kinds of intermolecular interactions such as hydrogen bond, halogen bond, coordination, and even covalent bond have been employed to construct molecular STs on metal surfaces. Herein a series of defect-free molecular STs have been fabricated via electrostatic attraction between potassium cations and electronically polarized chlorine atoms in 4,4″-dichloro-1,1′:3′,1″-terphenyl (DCTP) molecules on Cu(111) and Ag(111). The electrostatic interaction is confirmed both experimentally by scanning tunneling microscopy and theoretically by density functional theory calculations. These findings illustrate that electrostatic interaction can serve as an efficient driving force to construct molecular fractals, which enriches our toolbox for the bottom-up fabrication of complex functional supramolecular nanostructures.
fulltext:Assembling Surface Molecular Sierpiński Triangle Fractals via K+-Invoked Electrostatic Interaction | Journal of the American Chemical Society (acs.org)