Determination of the absolute chirality of individual adsorbed molecules using the scanning tunnelling microscope

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1038/31913
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TypeArticle
Journal titleNature
Nature
ISSN0028-0836
Volume392
Issue6679
Pages909911; # of pages: 3
AbstractThe adsorption of organic molecules on solid substrates is a fundamental step in many important heterogeneous catalytic processes, and is also becoming an increasingly significant aspect of surface modification in microelectronics and sensing technology. The conformation of adsorbed molecules not only influences the outcome of surface-catalysed reactions but also becomes important for recognition processes involved in chemical sensors. The scanning tunnelling microscope (STM) is uniquely able to monitor surface structures at the individual-molecule level1, and has been shown previously to be capable of distinguishing between different molecular conformations on a surface2. Here we show that the geometric configuration (cis or trans) of several simple alkenes chemisorbed on the silicon (100) surface can be determined using the STM, through its ability to identify individual methyl groups. Because both the position and the orientation of these groups can be seen, we can determine the absolute configuration (R or S) for each of the chiral centres formed on chemisorption. Thus the STM can probe enantioselective processes at surfaces at the single-molecule level, and may assist in the development of structured chiral surfaces capable of complex recognition tasks.
Publication date
AffiliationNational Research Council Canada; NRC Steacie Institute for Molecular Sciences; National Institute for Nanotechnology
Peer reviewedNo
Identifier10084666
NPARC number12337935
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Record identifierd1db1b46-847c-4c2a-b950-b89635756f91
Record created2009-09-10
Record modified2016-05-09
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