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Investigation of the structural anisotropy in a self-assembling glycinate layer on Cu(100) by scanning tunneling microscopy and density functional theory calculations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-116
Number of pages6
JournalApplied Surface Science
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2017
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


Self-assembling organic molecule-metal interfaces exhibiting free-electron like (FEL) states offers an attractive bottom-up approach to fabricating materials for molecular electronics. Accomplishing this, however, requires detailed understanding of the fundamental driving mechanisms behind the self-assembly process. For instance, it is still unresolved as to why the adsorption of glycine ([NH2(CH2)COOH]) on isotropic Cu(100) single crystal surface leads, via deprotonation and self-assembly, to a glycinate ([NH2(CH2)COO−]) layer that exhibits anisotropic FEL behavior. Here, we report on bias-dependent scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) experiments and density functional theory (DFT) calculations for glycine adsorption on Cu(100) single crystal surface. We find that after physical vapor deposition (PVD) of glycine on Cu(100), glycinate self-assembles into an overlayer exhibiting c(2x4) and p(2x4) symmetries with non-identical adsorption sites. Our findings underscore the intricacy of electrical conductivity in nanomolecular organic overlayers and the critical role the structural anisotropy at molecule-metal interface plays in the fabrication of materials for molecular electronics.


  • Cu(100), STM, Glycine, Glycinate, DFT, Self-assembly, Nanoscience

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