Comparing Cyanophenyl and Pyridyl Ligands in the Formation of Porphyrin-Based Metal−Organic Coordination Networks

Brian Baker, Nico Schmidt, Mihaela Enache, Meike Stöhr*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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In recent studies, porphyrin derivatives have been frequently used as building blocks for the fabrication of metal–organic coordination networks (MOCNs) on metal surfaces under ultrahigh vacuum conditions (UHV). The porphyrin core can host a variety of 3d transition metals, which are usually incorporated in solution. However, the replacement of a pre-existing metal atom in the porphyrin core by a different metallic species has been rarely reported under UHV. Herein, we studied the influence of cyanophenyl and pyridyl functional endgroups in the self-assembly of structurally different porphyrin-based MOCNs by the deposition of Fe atoms on tetracyanophenyl (Co-TCNPP) and tetrapyridyl-functionalized (Zn-TPPyP) porphyrins on Au(111) by means of scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). A comparative analysis of the influence of the cyano and pyridyl endgroups on the formation of different in-plane coordination motifs is performed. Each porphyrin derivative formed two structurally different Fe-coordinated MOCNs stabilized by three- and fourfold in-plane coordination nodes, respectively. Interestingly, the codeposited Fe atoms did not only bind to the functional endgroups but also reacted with the porphyrin core of the Zn-substituted porphyrin (Zn-TPyP), i.e., an atom exchange reaction took place in the porphyrin core where the codeposited Fe atoms replaced the Zn atoms. This was evidenced by the appearance of molecules with an enhanced (centered) STM contrast compared with the appearance of Zn-TPyP, which suggested the formation of a new molecular species, i.e., Fe-TPPyP. Furthermore, the porphyrin core of the Co-substituted porphyrin (Co-TCNPP) displayed an off-centered STM contrast after the deposition of Fe atoms, which was attributed to the binding of the Fe atoms on the top site of the Co-substituted porphyrin core. In summary, the deposition of metal atoms onto organic layers can steer the formation of structurally different MOCNs and may replace pre-existing metal atoms contained in the porphyrin core.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24557-24567
Number of pages11
JournalThe Journal of Physical Chemistry. C: Nanomaterials and Interfaces
Issue number44
Publication statusPublished - 11-Nov-2021

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