We investigated the adsorption of corannulene (C20H10) on the Ag(111) surface by experimental and simulated scanning tunneling microscopy (STM), X-ray photoemission (XPS), and near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure (NEXAFS). Structural optimizations of the adsorbed molecules were performed by density functional theory (DFT) and the core excited spectra evaluated within the transition-potential approach. Corannulene is physisorbed in a bowl-up orientation displaying a very high mobility (diffusing) and dynamics (tilting and spinning) at room temperature. At the monolayer saturation coverage, molecules order into a close-compact phase with an average intermolecular spacing of ∼10.5 ± 0.3 Å. The lattice mismatch drives a long wavelength structural modulation of the molecular rows, which, however, could not be identified with a specific superlattice periodicity. DFT calculations indicate that the structural and spectroscopic properties are intermediate between those predicted for the limiting cases of an on-hexagon geometry (with a 3-fold, ∼8.6 Å unit mesh) and an on-pentagon geometry (with a 4-fold, ∼11.5 Å unit mesh). We suggest that molecules smoothly change their equilibrium configuration along the observed long wavelength modulation of the molecular rows by varying their tilt and azimuth in between the geometric constraints calculated for molecules in the 3-fold and 4-fold phases.
A. Baby, Lin, H., Abhilash Ravikumar, Bittencourt, C., Wegner, H. A., Floreano, L., Goldoni, A., and Fratesi, G., “Lattice Mismatch Drives Spatial Modulation of Corannulene Tilt on Ag (111)”, The Journal of Physical Chemistry C , vol. 122 , no. 19, pp. 10365–10376, 2018.