Nano Research

Article Title

Building 2D quasicrystals from 5-fold symmetric corannulene molecules


quasicrystal, surface science, 5-fold symmetry, molecular self-assembly, corannulene


ABSTRACT The formation of long-range ordered aperiodic molecular films on quasicrystalline substrates is a new challenge that provides an opportunity for further surface functionalization. This aim can be realized through the smart selection of molecular building blocks, based on symmetry-matching between the underlying quasicrystal and individual molecules. It was previously found that the geometric registry between the C60 molecules and the 5- and 10-fold surfaces was key to the growth of quasiperiodic organic layers. However, an attempt to form a quasiperiodic C60 network on i-Ag-In-Yb substrates was unsuccessful, resulting in disordered molecular films. Here we report the growth of 5-fold symmetric corannulene C20H10 molecules on the 5-fold surfaces of i-Ag-In-Yb quasicrystals. Low-energy electron diffraction (LEED) and scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) revealed long-range quasiperiodic order and 5-fold rotational symmetry in self-assembled corannulene films. Recurrent decagonal molecular rings were seen, resulting from the decoration of specific adsorption sites with local pentagonal symmetry by corannulenes, adsorbed with their bowl-openings pointing away from the surface. They were identified as (Ag, In)-containing rhombic triacontahedral (RTH) cluster centers and pentagonal Yb motifs, which cannot be occupied simultaneously due to steric hindrance. It is proposed that symmetry-matching between the molecule and specific substrate sites drives this organization. Alteration of the molecular rim by the introduction of CH substituents appeared to increase molecule mobility on the potential energy surface and facilitate trapping at these specific sites. This finding suggests that rational selection of molecular moiety enables the templated self-assembly of molecules leading to an ordered aperiodic corannulene layer.

Graphical Abstract


Tsinghua University Press