Chemical functionalization is a powerful approach to tailor the physical and chemical properties of two-dimensional (2D) materials, increase their processability and stability, tune their functionalities and, even, create new 2D materials. This is typically achieved through post-synthetic functionalization by anchoring molecules on the surface of an exfoliated 2D crystal, but it inevitably alters the long-range structural order of the material. Here we present a pre-synthetic approach that allows the isolation of crystalline, robust and magnetic functionalized monolayers of coordination polymers. A series of five isostructural layered magnetic coordination polymers based on Fe(ii) centres and different benzimidazole derivatives (bearing a Cl, H, CH3, Br or NH2 side group) were first prepared. On mechanical exfoliation, 2D materials are obtained that retain their long-range structural order and exhibit good mechanical and magnetic properties. This combination, together with the possibility to functionalize their surface at will, makes them good candidates to explore magnetism in the 2D limit and to fabricate mechanical resonators for selective gas sensing.

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The authors acknowledge financial support from the European Comission (COST Action MOLSPIN CA15128, FET-OPEN 2D-INK 664878, ERC-2016-CoG 724681-S-CAGE and ERC-2018-AdG 788222 Mol-2D), the Spanish MINECO (Structures of Excellence María de Maeztu MDM-2015–0538 and Severo Ochoa SEV-2012-0267, projects CTQ2014-59209-P, CTQ2017-89528-P, MAT2017-89993-R, MAT2015-68200-C2-2-P and MAT2015-71842-P), the Generalitat Valenciana (Prometeo programme) and the VLC/Campus Program. G.M.E. thanks the Spanish MINECO for a Ramón y Cajal Fellowship. S.M.V. thanks MINECO for a predoctoral FPU grant (FPU14/04407). J.L.C. acknowledges the University of Valencia for an ‘Atracció de Talent’ grant. The C2TN/IST authors acknowledge the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT, contract UID/Multi/04349/2013). D.D., P.G.S. and H.S.J.v.d.Z. acknowledge the support of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO/OCW), as part of the Frontiers of Nanoscience (NanoFront) programme and the European Union Seventh Framework Programme under grant agreement no. 604391 Graphene Flagship. The authors thank the Spanish CRG-D1B at Institut Laue-Langevin for allocated beamtime (project CRG-2402).

Author information

Author notes

    • P. J. Bereciartua

    Present address: Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY), Hamburg, Germany

  1. These authors contributed equally to this work: J. López-Cabrelles, S. Mañas-Valero.


  1. Instituto de Ciencia Molecular (ICMol), Universitat de València, Paterna, Spain

    • J. López-Cabrelles
    • , S. Mañas-Valero
    • , G. Mínguez Espallargas
    •  & E. Coronado
  2. School of Chemistry, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK

    • I. J. Vitórica-Yrezábal
  3. Instituto de Tecnología Química (UPV-CSIC), Universitat Politècnica de València−Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Valencia, Spain

    • P. J. Bereciartua
  4. Institut Laue-Langevin, Grenoble , France

    • J. A. Rodríguez-Velamazán
  5. Centro de Ciências e Tecnologias Nucleares, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Bobadela, Portugal

    • J. C. Waerenborgh
    •  & B. J. C. Vieira
  6. Kavli Institute of Nanoscience, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands

    • D. Davidovikj
    • , P. G. Steeneken
    •  & H. S. J. van der Zant


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J.L.C. and S.M.V. contributed equally to this work. J.L.C. synthetized and characterized all the materials in bulk. S.M.V. analysed the magnetic data and carried out the MFM measurements. S.M.V. performed the exfoliation and characterization of the exfoliated materials, assisted by J.L.C. I.J.V.Y. contributed to solution and refinement of the structures from single crystal data with the help of G.M.E. P.J.B. conducted the TEM studies with contributions from J.L.C. and S.M.V. J.A.R.V. performed the neutron diffraction studies. J.C.W. and B.J.C.V. performed the Mossbauer characterization. D.D., P.G.S. and H.S.J.v.d.Z. characterized the nanomechanical resonators. G.M.E. and E.C. conceived and designed the experiments. J.L.C., S.M.V., G.M.E. and E.C. prepared the manuscript. All authors commented on the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to G. Mínguez Espallargas or E. Coronado.

Supplementary information

  1. Supplementary Information

    Additional synthesis and characterization data; Supplementary Figures 1–45; Supplementary references 1–17

  2. Crystallographic data

    CIF for compound MUV-1-Cl; CCDC reference: 1582350

  3. Crystallographic data

    CIF for compound MUV-1-H; CCDC reference: 1582348

  4. Crystallographic data

    CIF for compound MUV-1-CH3; CCDC reference: 1582347

  5. Crystallographic data

    CIF for compound MUV-1-Br; CCDC reference: 1849147

  6. Crystallographic data

    CIF for compound MUV-1-NH2; CCDC reference: 1582349

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