The ability to direct the assembly of individual molecules at surfaces is one of the basic necessities for the bottom-up construction of novel molecular devices and electronics. The required control must address not only placement and conformational arrangement, but also the fundamental issues of molecular composition and structure. Studies from the emerging field of surface-confined reactions demonstrate the possibilities for synthesizing new organic materials within one- or two-dimensional constraints. The chemistry employed in these surface reactions has largely been based on mimicking known bulk reactions, like Ullmann coupling.
One motivation for this movement towards on-surface chemistry is the possibility for synthesizing one- and two-dimensional conjugated electronic materials. Polythiophenes are one of the bedrock materials in organic semiconductors, and a considerable effort has been expended towards the synthesis of 1- and 2- dimensional polymers in surface-confined reaction of thiophene monomers.
Recently, our group partially focused the research towards the imaging and characterization of what we call “single-molecule reaction events”; we consider this essential not only because single molecular species often exhibit behavior that is radically different than that of molecular aggregates and films, but it also extends our basic understanding of chemistry to the frontiers of technology, like nano-electronics.
Following this direction, the essence of my project is to use nanoscale structural, electronic or chemical alterations in aromatic precursors, in ultra-high vacuum (UHV), to directly influence their interaction in a desired manner. The main employed characterization technique, scanning tunnelling microscopy (UHV-STM), has some specialized strengths: the extremely high spatial resolution provides unique opportunity to study chemical reactions at the single-molecule level, allowing the identification of minority products and intermediates.
- M.Sc. – Bucharest University, Faculty of Physics – Nuclear Interactions and Particles Physics (Romania);
- B.Sc. – Bucharest University, Faculty of Physics – Nuclear Applied Physics (Romania).
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