Polycyclic aromatic chains on metals and insulating layers by repetitive [3+2] cycloadditions

Alexander Riss, Marcus Richter, Alejandro Pérez Paz, Xiao Ye Wang, Rajesh Raju, Yuanqin He, Jacob Ducke, Eduardo Corral, Michael Wuttke, Knud Seufert, Manuela Garnica, Angel Rubio, Johannes V. Barth, Akimitsu Narita, Klaus Müllen, Reinhard Berger, Xinliang Feng, Carlos Andres Palma, Willi Auwärter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


The vast potential of organic materials for electronic, optoelectronic and spintronic devices entails substantial interest in the fabrication of π-conjugated systems with tailored functionality directly at insulating interfaces. On-surface fabrication of such materials on non-metal surfaces remains to be demonstrated with high yield and selectivity. Here we present the synthesis of polyaromatic chains on metallic substrates, insulating layers, and in the solid state. Scanning probe microscopy shows the formation of azaullazine repeating units on Au(111), Ag(111), and h-BN/Cu(111), stemming from intermolecular homo-coupling via cycloaddition reactions of CN-substituted polycyclic aromatic azomethine ylide (PAMY) intermediates followed by subsequent dehydrogenation. Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometry demonstrates that the reaction also takes place in the solid state in the absence of any catalyst. Such intermolecular cycloaddition reactions are promising methods for direct synthesis of regioregular polyaromatic polymers on arbitrary insulating surfaces.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1490
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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