Bonding Motifs in Metal-Organic Compounds on Surfaces

Fabian Queck*, Ondrej Krejčí, Philipp Scheuerer, Felix Bolland, Michal Otyepka, Pavel Jelínek, Jascha Repp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
140 Downloads (Pure)


The bonds in metal organic networks on surfaces govern the resulting geometry as well as the electronic properties. Here, we study the nature of these bonds by forming phenazine-copper complexes on a copper surface by means of atomic manipulation. The structures are characterized by a combination of scanning probe microscopy and density functional theory calculations. We observed an increase of the molecule-substrate distance upon covalent bond formation and an out-of-plane geometry that is in direct contradiction with the common expectation that these networks are steered by coordination bonds. Instead, we find that a complex energy balance of hybridization with the substrate, inhomogeneous Pauli repulsion, and elastic deformation drives the phenazine-copper interaction. Most remarkably, this attractive interaction is not driven by electron acceptor properties of copper but is of completely different donation/back-donation mechanism between molecular π-like orbitals and sp-like metal states. Our findings show that the nature of bonds between constituents adsorbed on surfaces does not have to follow the common categories.

Original languageEnglish
Article number40
Pages (from-to)12884−12889
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sep 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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