The self-assembly process of a cobalt-porphyrin derivative (Co-TCNPP) containing cyanophenyl substituents at all four meso positions on Au(111) was studied by means of scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and low energy electron diffraction (LEED) under ultrahigh vacuum conditions. Deposition of Co-TCNPP onto Au(111) gave rise to the formation of a close-packed H-bonded network, which was independent of coverage as revealed by STM and LEED. However, a coverage-dependent structural transformation took place upon the deposition of Co atoms. At monolayer coverage, a reticulated long-range ordered network exhibiting a distinct fourfold Co coordination was observed. By reduction of the molecular coverage, a second metal-organic coordination network (MOCN) was formed in coexistence with the fourfold Co-coordinated network, that is, a chevron structure stabilized by a simultaneous expression of H-bonding and threefold Co coordination. We attribute the coverage-dependent structural transformation to the in-plane compression pressure exerted by the molecules deposited on the surface. Our study shows that a subtle interplay between the chemical nature of the building blocks (molecules and metallic atoms) and molecular coverage can steer the formation of structurally different porphyrin-based MOCNs.
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