A molecular overlayer with the Fibonacci square grid structure

Coates, Sam, Smerdon, Joe orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7387-8362, McGrath, Ronan and Sharma, Hem Raj (2018) A molecular overlayer with the Fibonacci square grid structure. Nature Communications, 9 . p. 3435.

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-05950-7


Quasicrystals differ from conventional crystals and amorphous materials in that they possess long-range order without periodicity. They exhibit orders of rotational symmetry which are forbidden in periodic crystals, such as five-, ten-, and twelve-fold, and their structures can be described with complex aperiodic tilings such as Penrose tilings and Stampfli-Gaehler tilings. Previous theoretical work explored the structure and properties of a hypothetical four-fold symmetric quasicrystal-the so-called Fibonacci square grid. Here, we show an experimental realisation of the Fibonacci square grid structure in a molecular overlayer. Scanning tunnelling microscopy reveals that fullerenes (C ) deposited on the two-fold surface of an icosahedral Al-Pd-Mn quasicrystal selectively adsorb atop Mn atoms, forming a Fibonacci square grid. The site-specific adsorption behaviour offers the potential to generate relatively simple quasicrystalline overlayer structures with tunable physical properties and demonstrates the use of molecules as a surface chemical probe to identify atomic species on similar metallic alloy surfaces.

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