Synthesizing atomically thin, crystalline two-dimensional (2D) molecular materials which combine carbon with other elements is an emerging field requiring both custom-designed molecular precursors and their ability to organize into networks (hydrogen-bonded or covalent). Hybrid carbon-boron nitride (C-BN) networks face the additional challenge of needing hydrolytically-stable BN-containing molecular precursors. Here, we show that borazatruxenes (truxene-like molecules with a borazine core) and their halogenated derivatives are highly stable precursors suitable for on-surface assembly. Using scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and density functional theory (DFT) simulations we demonstrate hierarchical H-bonded assembly based on chiral homodimers of tribromo-borazatruxenes (3Br-borazatruxenes) as building blocks for both 1D chains and 2D networks. A low-symmetry, H-bonded chiral 2D lattice forms on Au(111) from the C3-symmetric 3Br-borazatruxenes, leading to large enantiomorphic domains that are molecularly homochiral. Such homochiral segregation is a necessary condition if chiral C-BN covalent networks are to be obtained via subsequent on-surface reactions. We show via DFT that up to two Na atoms can be trapped within the small pores of this dense lattice, while further Na atoms can adsorb on preferred network sites; this leads to hybrid Na-molecular network electronic bands with anisotropic dispersion and significant (up to hundreds of meV) bandwidths, as well as significant doping, that can engender anisotropic transport through the network. Finally, electronic structure comparisons (combining both experiment and computation) between borazatruxene, its tri-brominated derivative and truxene show that the borazine core controls the band gap increase, while also inducing C-B pz-pz electron delocalization that facilitates a continuous electron path across the molecule. Furthermore, as shown by DFT, the borazine core drives inter-layer B-N polar interactions that promote adsorption of BN containing molecules in a staggered configuration, a mechanism to be exploited in layer-by-layer supra-molecular assembly of novel hybrid C-BN materials.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)