Surface chemistry

  • Article
    | Open Access

    By now a plethora of ultrathin hydrophobic coatings are available but their durability are not well developed. Here, the authors present a thin, durable and fluorine-free PDMS-based vitrimer coating that implements many desirable aspects like energy efficiency, durability and sustainability.

    • Jingcheng Ma
    • , Laura E. Porath
    •  & Christopher M. Evans
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Similarly to graphene, attempts to fabricate phosphorene by epitaxy or starting from a few layers of bulk black phosphorus have failed so far. Here, the authors present a controllable bottom-up approach to grow atomically thin, crystalline 1D flat phosphorus chains on a Ag(111) substrate.

    • Wei Zhang
    • , Hanna Enriquez
    •  & Hamid Oughaddou
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Adsorption is a fundamentally important process but challenging to quantify, especially at the nanoscale. Here, the authors map the adsorption affinity and cooperativity of various ligands on single gold nanoparticles and discover adsorption crossover behaviors between different facets, leading to a strategy to control particle shape.

    • Rong Ye
    • , Ming Zhao
    •  & Peng Chen
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Reactions at the interface between mineral surfaces and flowing liquids are ubiquitous in nature. Here the authors explore, using surface-specific sum frequency generation spectroscopy and numeric calculations, how the liquid flow affects the charging and dissolution rates leading to flow-dependent charge gradients along the surface.

    • Patrick Ober
    • , Willem Q. Boon
    •  & Mischa Bonn
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Although N-heterocyclic carbenes (NHCs) are a promising class of ligands for forming robust self-assembled monolayers on metals, many questions remain about their behavior on surfaces. Here, the authors address these fundamental questions—such as the factors controlling NHC orientation, mobility, and ability to self-assemble—through an in-depth examination of NHC overlayers on Au(111).

    • Alex Inayeh
    • , Ryan R. K. Groome
    •  & Alastair B. McLean
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The dynamics of water molecules at interfaces controls natural and artificial processes, but experimental investigations have been challenging. Here the authors investigate water molecules on a graphene surface using helium spin-echo spectroscopy, and reveal a regime where freely mobile molecules undergo strong repulsive mutual interactions which inhibit ice nucleation.

    • Anton Tamtögl
    • , Emanuel Bahn
    •  & William Allison
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The preparation of lanthanide-transition metal clusters containing multiple lanthanide atoms remains challenging. Here, the authors present the controlled on-surface formation of ligand-stabilized heterometallic Ce/Au clusters containing two, three and four Ce atoms bridged by Au adatoms.

    • Jing Liu
    • , Jie Li
    •  & Yongfeng Wang
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Designing ultra small metal nanoclusters or single atoms with metallic state is a challenge. Here, the authors demonstrate the stabilization of ultra small silver clusters in the nearly-metallic state by oxygen adsorption at high temperature, using in situ spectroscopy and microscope technologies.

    • Rongtan Li
    • , Xiaoyan Xu
    •  & Xinhe Bao
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Vibronic coupling is a key feature of molecular electronic transitions, but its visualization in real space is an experimental challenge. Here the authors, using scanning tunneling microscopy induced luminescence, resolve the effect of vibronic coupling with different modes on the electron distributions in real space in a single pentacene molecule.

    • Fan-Fang Kong
    • , Xiao-Jun Tian
    •  & J. G. Hou
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Ice-nucleating proteins promote ice formation at high sub-zero temperatures, but the mechanism is still unclear. The authors investigate a model ice-nucleating protein at the air-water interface using vibrational sum frequency generation spectroscopy and simulations, revealing its reorientation at low temperatures, which increases contact with water molecules and promotes their ordering.

    • Steven J. Roeters
    • , Thaddeus W. Golbek
    •  & Tobias Weidner
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Arrays of ordered metal atoms on bulk insulating materials are promising for future applications, such as optoelectronics and data storage. Here, the authors demonstrate a strategy to create an ordered metal array based on tailored anchoring and hard-sphere repulsion of metal-complexing molecules.

    • Simon Aeschlimann
    • , Sebastian V. Bauer
    •  & Angelika Kühnle
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Developing a generalizable model to describe adsorption processes at metal surfaces can be extremely challenging due to complex phenomena involved. Here the authors introduce a Bayesian learning approach based on ab initio data and the d-band model to capture the essential physics of adsorbate–substrate interactions.

    • Siwen Wang
    • , Hemanth Somarajan Pillai
    •  & Hongliang Xin
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Precise patterning of functional nanoparticles can provide a powerful tool for next-generation macroscale devices. Here, the authors report a reliable nanoprinting technique that can pattern various functional nanoparticles on the substrate with a 200 nm pitch and 10 nm position accuracy, and above the millimeter scale.

    • Xing Xing
    • , Zaiqin Man
    •  & Zhenda Lu
  • Article
    | Open Access

    N-heterocyclic carbenes (NHCs) have been widely used for the formation of monolayers but self-assembly methods come with drawbacks such as need for dry environment or using specifically-synthesized precursors. Here, the authors demonstrate an approach for surface-anchoring of NHCs which overcomes these limitations by using electrochemically-assisted deprotonation.

    • Einav Amit
    • , Linoy Dery
    •  & Elad Gross
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Direct observation of carbon dioxide dissociation provides an origin of catalytic conversion for industrial chemical reactions. Here, the authors reveal their molecular interactions on the rhodium catalyst at near-ambient pressure by interface science techniques and computational calculations.

    • Jeongjin Kim
    • , Hyunwoo Ha
    •  & Jeong Young Park
  • Article
    | Open Access

    SERS can be unreliable for biomedical use. The authors demonstrate a metal-free nanostructure composed of porous carbon nanowires in an array as a SERS substrate. It offers 106 signal enhancement due to strong broadband charge-transfer resonance and substrate-to-substrate, spot-to-spot and time-to-time consistency in the SERS spectrum.

    • Nan Chen
    • , Ting-Hui Xiao
    •  & Keisuke Goda
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Development of strategies for the synthesis of pi-conjugated polymers is hampered by limited solubility. Here, the authors report a synthetic protocol based on the search for specific vibrational modes through an appropriate tailoring of the p-conjugation of the precursors, in order to increase the attempt frequency of a chemical reaction.

    • Bruno de la Torre
    • , Adam Matěj
    •  & David Écija
  • Article
    | Open Access

    MoS2 nanoparticles catalyze the extraction of heteroatom S in hydrocarbons by adsorption onto S vacancies. Here, the authors show that S vacancy properties are highly site sensitive and that adsorption of thiophene leads to self-generation of a more open double vacancy site.

    • Norberto Salazar
    • , Srinivas Rangarajan
    •  & Jeppe V. Lauritsen
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Conveying electrochemistry in terms of the electrode/electrolyte interfacial properties remains challenging. Here, the authors employ a surface-bound molecular probe and photoelectron spectroscopy to peer into the anion-dictated and potential-induced interfacial electronic and structural properties.

    • Raymond A. Wong
    • , Yasuyuki Yokota
    •  & Yousoo Kim
  • Article
    | Open Access

    As nanoscale building blocks, proteins offer unique advantages, including monodispersity and atomically tunable interactions, but their self-assembly is limited compared to inorganic or polymeric nanoparticles. Here, the authors show modular self-assembly of an engineered protein into four physicochemically distinct patterned 2D crystals via control of four classes of interactions.

    • Shuai Zhang
    • , Robert G. Alberstein
    •  & F. Akif Tezcan
  • Article
    | Open Access

    A fundamental and predictive understanding of molecule-surface interactions is challenging to obtain. Here the authors report an experimental technique allowing direct measurement of the scattering matrix, which reports on the coherent evolution of quantum states of a molecule scattering from a surface.

    • Yosef Alkoby
    • , Helen Chadwick
    •  & Gil Alexandrowicz
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The design of oxide-metal interface for heterogeneous catalysis has been hampered by the limited fundamental understanding. Here, the authors demonstrate that the activities of cuprous oxide nanostructures for CO oxidation can be tuned via the oxide-metal (Cu2O/M, M = Pt, Ag, Au) interaction.

    • Wugen Huang
    • , Qingfei Liu
    •  & Fan Yang
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) is commonly used to study 2D molecular self-assembly but is not always enough to fully solve a supramolecular structure. Here, the authors combine a high-resolution version of STM with first-principles simulations to precisely identify halogen bonding in polycyclic aromatic molecules.

    • James Lawrence
    • , Gabriele C. Sosso
    •  & Giovanni Costantini
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Species migration across interfacial boundaries can affect the function of bimetallic catalysts. Here the authors report that palladium oxide drives the reduction of silver oxide by facilitating molecular hydrogen dissociation and migration of hydrogen atoms across the Pd–Ag interface with concurrent surface restructuring.

    • Christopher R. O’Connor
    • , Matthijs A. van Spronsen
    •  & Cynthia M. Friend
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The gold standard for diagnosis and monitoring of myocardial infarction is a chemiluminescence assay based on the detection of cardian troponin I (cTnI). Here, the authors develop a plasmonic gold nano-island chip assay for ultrasensitive detection of cTnI in as little as 10 μL of serum.

    • Wei Xu
    • , Lin Wang
    •  & Kun Qian
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Detailed atom-level anchoring mechanism of Ag species on γ-Al2O3 is largely unknown for the widely used Ag/γ-Al2O3 catalyst. Here, the authors demonstrate that single-Ag atom can be only anchored by the terminal hydroxyls on the (100) surfaces of γ-Al2O3 through consuming two or three terminal hydroxyls.

    • Fei Wang
    • , Jinzhu Ma
    •  & Xiao Cheng Zeng
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Hydrated protons are always present in aqueous solution, but their molecular structure remains under debate. Here the authors use vibrational sum frequency spectroscopy to show that at negatively charged liquid–vapor interfaces, protons adopt a specific configuration characteristic of Eigen-like species.

    • Eric Tyrode
    • , Sanghamitra Sengupta
    •  & Adrien Sthoer
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Water molecular motion on surfaces underpins a range of phenomena in nature. The authors resolve the nanoscale-nanosecond motion of water at a topological insulator’s surface by helium spin-echo spectroscopy and computations, reporting hopping among sites and repulsion between water molecules.

    • Anton Tamtögl
    • , Marco Sacchi
    •  & William Allison
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Label-free surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy is an emergent method for the detection and discrimination of biological analytes. Here, the authors describe SERS sensors with arrayed mildly-selective surface chemistries to give a fingerprint based on different interactions for analysing biological samples.

    • Nayoung Kim
    • , Michael R. Thomas
    •  & Molly M. Stevens
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Identifying reacting species locally with nanometer precision is a major challenge in electrochemical surface science. Using operando Raman nanoscopy, authors image the reversible, concurrent formation of nanometer-spatially separated Au2O3 and Au2O species during Au nanodefect oxidation.

    • Jonas H. K. Pfisterer
    • , Masoud Baghernejad
    •  & Katrin F. Domke
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Extending the π‐conjugation of phthalocyanine dyes, while synthetically challenging, has the potential to produce desirable new molecular materials. Here, the authors use a templated on‐surface approach to synthesize several extended phthalocyanine derivatives from the same building block, including a lanthanide superphthalocyanine and an open‐chain polycyanine.

    • Qitang Fan
    • , Jan-Niclas Luy
    •  & J. Michael Gottfried
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The orientation of a molecule on a surface affects many processes, so the ability to control single-molecule rotation could be powerful. Here, the authors use the electric field from a scanning tunneling microscope tip to precisely induce unidirectional rotation of a polar molecule, allowing visualization of the molecule’s internal dipole moment.

    • Grant J. Simpson
    • , Víctor García-López
    •  & Leonhard Grill
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Controlling selectivity between homochiral and heterochiral reaction pathways on surfaces is intriguing but challenging. Here, the authors demonstrate strategies in steering the reactions of prochiral terminal alkynes between the homochiral and heterochiral pathways by tuning the precursor substituents and the kinetic parameters.

    • Tao Wang
    • , Haifeng Lv
    •  & Junfa Zhu
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Controlling the rotation direction of individual molecular machines requires precise design and manipulation. Here, the authors describe a surface-adsorbed molecular propeller that, upon excitation with a scanning tunneling microscope tip, can rotate clockwise or anticlockwise depending on its chirality, and directly visualize its stepwise rotation with STM images.

    • Yuan Zhang
    • , Jan Patrick Calupitan
    •  & Saw Wai Hla
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Identifying reaction pathways is a major challenge in chemistry, and proves particularly difficult for surface reactions. Here the authors show that imaging the molecular orbitals with photoemission tomography provides insight into the structure of surface intermediates allowing their identification.

    • Xiaosheng Yang
    • , Larissa Egger
    •  & F. Stefan Tautz
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Mirror twin boundaries (MTBs) have been observed as metallic line defects in 2D transition metal dichalcogenides, but their chemical properties are not well understood. Here, the authors show that MTB defect networks on MoSe2 are more chemically reactive to organic molecules than pristine domains, and can template the self-assembly of hexagonal organic porous structures.

    • Xiaoyue He
    • , Lei Zhang
    •  & Andrew Thye Shen Wee
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Molecular photoswitches provide an extremely simple solution for solar energy conversion and storage. Here, the authors report on the assembly of an operational solar energy-storing organic-oxide hybrid interface, which consists of a tailor-made molecular photoswitch and an atomically-defined semiconducting oxide film.

    • Christian Schuschke
    • , Chantal Hohner
    •  & Jörg Libuda
  • Article
    | Open Access

    In vitro testing of implant materials bioactivity is important and the current methods take time. Here, the authors report on the development of a faster titration based method for assessing the mineralization activity of materials and validate the method in vitro and in vivo using titanium surfaces.

    • Weitian Zhao
    • , David Michalik
    •  & Paul Bowen
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Zeolites have attracted attention and have been applied as haemostatic agents; however, there are issues associated with released zeolite powder. Here, the authors report on the growth of zeolites on cotton fibres with high stability and haemostatic ability.

    • Lisha Yu
    • , Xiaoqiang Shang
    •  & Jie Fan