Hydrogen bonding vs. molecule–surface interactions in 2D self-assembly of [C60]fullerenecarboxylic acids
The adsorption of C60-malonic derivatives C61(CO2H)2 and C66(CO2H)12 on Au(111) and a pentafluorobenzenethiol-modified Au substrate (PFBT@Au) has been investigated using scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) at a liquid–solid interface. Monofunctionalized C61(CO2H)2 forms a hexagonal close-packed overlayer on Au(111) and individual aligned dimers on PFBT@Au(111). The difference is attributed to the nature of the substrate⋯C61(CO2H)2 interaction (isotropic π–Au bonding vs. anisotropic PFBT⋯COOH interactions). Surprisingly, in both cases, the directionality of the COOH⋯COOH motif is compromised in favor of synergistic van der Waals/H bonding interactions. Such van der Waals contacts are geometrically unfeasible in hexafunctionalized C66(CO2H)12 and its assembly on Au(111) leads to a 2D molecular network controlled exclusively by H bonding. For both molecules, the “free” CO2H groups on the monolayer surface can engage in out-of-plane H bonding interaction resulting in the epitaxial growth of subsequent molecular layers.