Carbon structures comprising sp1 chains (e.g., polyynes or cumulenes) can be synthesized by exploiting on-surface chemistry and molecular self-assembly of organic precursors, opening to the use of the full experimental and theoretical surface-science toolbox for their characterization. In particular, polarized near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure (NEXAFS) can be used to determine molecular adsorption angles and is here also suggested as a probe to discriminate sp1/sp2 character in the structures. We present an ab initio study of the polarized NEXAFS spectrum of model and real sp1/sp2 materials. Calculations are performed within density functional theory with plane waves and pseudopotentials, and spectra are computed by core-excited C potentials. We evaluate the dichroism in the spectrum for ideal carbynes and highlight the main differences relative to typical sp2 systems. We then consider a mixed polymer alternating sp1 C4 units with sp2 biphenyl groups, recently synthesized on Au(111), as well as other linear structures and two-dimensional networks, pointing out a spectral line shape specifically due to the the presence of linear C chains. Our study suggests that the measurements of polarized NEXAFS spectra could be used to distinctly fingerprint the presence of sp1 hybridization in surface-grown C structures.
G. Fratesi, Achilli, S., Manini, N., Onida, G., Baby, A., Abhilash Ravikumar, Ugolotti, A., Brivio, G., Milani, A., and Casari, C., “Fingerprints of sp1 Hybridized C in the Near-Edge X-ray Absorption Spectra of Surface-Grown Materials”, Materials , 2018.