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Nanostructured Surfaces: Molecular Functionality on advanced sp2-bonded substrates (NanoSurfs)
Start date: Apr 1, 2014, End date: Mar 31, 2019 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Inspired by the diverse functionalities of complex molecular building blocks evidenced in manifold life processes as transport of respiratory gases, metabolism or light harvesting, we aim for a comprehensive characterization and control of molecular properties in surface-based model systems. To fully exploit and tune molecular functionality on substrates, a paradigm shift away from conventional metal supports, which might drastically affect adsorbates, is mandatory. We propose to apply nanostructured boron nitride (BN) monolayers and sp2-heterostructures as templates for molecular units and architectures. As indicated by the fascinating nanomesh interface and the electronically corrugated atomically thin BN sheet on Cu we recently reported, inert, temperature stable and insulating BN has a huge potential as advanced substrate supporting molecular functionality, self-ordering and intercalation.By combining the inherent functionality of organic or bio-molecular building blocks with the unusual electronic and structural characteristics of advanced sp2-bonded substrates grown by chemical vapour deposition, we aim to achieve desired properties, including electronic, magnetic and conformational switching, tunable reactivity, or tailored electronic band gaps. Special emphasis will be put on economic substrates as thin films or foils, which open perspectives for scalable processing.With this proposal, we wish to establish research at the interface of surface science, supramolecular chemistry and materials engineering, yielding new insight into physicochemical processes at the single-molecule level, but also offering pathways to molecular sensors, switches, catalysts and devices, thus making a viable contribution to the on-going quest for innovation in nanotechnology. State-of-the-art scanning probe microscopy, a proposed new apparatus for the growth and handling of sp2-sheets and complementary X-ray based techniques will be used to tackle this ambitious project.
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