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What can be inferred from moiré patterns? A case study of trimesic acid monolayers on graphite


Self-assembly of benzene-1,3,5-tricarboxylic acid (trimesic acid - TMA) monolayers at the alkanoic acid-graphite interface is revisited. Even though this archetypal model system for hydrogen bonded porous networks is particularly well studied, the analysis of routinely observed superperiodic contrast modulations known as moiré patterns lags significantly behind. Fundamental questions remain unanswered: Are moiré periodicity and orientation always the same, i.e. is exclusively only one specific moiré pattern observed? What are the geometric relations (superstructure matrices) between moiré, TMA, and graphite lattices? What affects the moiré pattern formation? Is there any influence of solvent, conentration, or thermal treatment? These basic questions are addressed by Scanning Tunneling Microscopy experiments at the liquid-solid interface, revealing a variety of different moiré patterns. Interestingly, TMA and graphite lattices were always found to be ~5° rotated with respect to each other. Consequently, the observed variation in moiré patterns is attributed to minute deviations (<2°) from this preferred orientation. Quantitaive analysis of moiré periods and orientations facilitates determination of the TMA lattice parameter with picometer precsion.

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Publication details

The article was received on 20 Mar 2017, accepted on 09 May 2017 and first published on 09 May 2017

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7FD00113D
Citation: Faraday Discuss., 2017, Accepted Manuscript
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    What can be inferred from moiré patterns? A case study of trimesic acid monolayers on graphite

    S. Spitzer, O. Helmle, O. Ochs, J. Horsley, N. Martsinovich, W. M. Heckl and M. Lackinger, Faraday Discuss., 2017, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7FD00113D

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