Layered Insulator/Molecule/Metal Heterostructures with Molecular Functionality through Porphyrin Intercalation

Jacob Ducke, Alexander Riss, Alejandro Pérez Paz, Knud Seufert, Martin Schwarz, Manuela Garnica, Angel Rubio, Willi Auwärter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Intercalation of molecules into layered materials is actively researched in materials science, chemistry, and nanotechnology, holding promise for the synthesis of van der Waals heterostructures and encapsulated nanoreactors. However, the intercalation of organic molecules that exhibit physical or chemical functionality remains a key challenge to date. In this work, we present the synthesis of heterostructures consisting of porphines sandwiched between a Cu(111) substrate and an insulating hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) monolayer. We investigated the energetics of the intercalation, as well as the influence of the capping h-BN layer on the behavior of the intercalated molecules using scanning probe microscopy and density functional theory calculations. While the self-assembly of the molecules is altered upon intercalation, we show that the intrinsic functionalities, such as switching between different porphine tautomers, are preserved. Such insulator/molecule/metal structures provide opportunities to protect organic materials from deleterious effects of atmospheric environment, can be used to control chemical reactions through spatial confinement, and give access to layered materials based on the ample availability of synthesis protocols provided by organic chemistry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2677-2684
Number of pages8
JournalACS Nano
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 27 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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