The role of halogens in on-surface Ullmann polymerization
.Ullmann coupling is the most common approach to form surface-confined one- and two-dimensional conjugated structures from haloaryl derivatives. The dimension of the formed nanostructures can be controlled by the number and location of halogens within the molecular precursors. Our study illustrates that the type of halogen plays an essential role in the design, orientation, and extent of the surface-confined organometallic and polymeric nanostructures. We performed a comparative analysis of five 1,4-dihalobenzene molecules containing chlorine, bromine, and iodine on Cu(110) by scanning tunneling microscopy, fast-X-ray photoelectron and near edge X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopies. Our experimental data identify different molecular structures, reaction temperatures and kinetics depending on the halogen type. Climbing image nudged elastic band simulations further clarify these observations by providing distinct diffusion paths for each halogen species. We show that in addition to the structure of building blocks, the halogen type has a direct influence on the morphology of surface-confined polymeric structures based on Ullmann coupling.