Issue 45, 2018

On-surface transmetalation of metalloporphyrins


Increasing the complexity of 2D metal–organic networks has led to the fabrication of structures with interesting magnetic and catalytic properties. However, increasing complexity by providing different coordination environments for different metal types imposes limitations on their synthesis if the controlled placement of one metal type into one coordination environment is desired. Whereas metal insertion into free-base porphyrins at the vacuum/solid interface has been thoroughly studied, providing detailed insight into the mechanisms at play, the chemical interaction of a metal atom with a metallated porphyrin is rarely investigated. Herein, the breadth of metalation reactions is augmented towards the metal exchange of a metalloporphyrin through the deliberate addition of atomic metal centers. The cation of Fe(II)-tetraphenylporphyrins can be replaced by Co in a redox transmetalation-like reaction on a Au(111) surface. Likewise, Cu can be replaced by Co. The reverse reaction does not occur, i.e. Fe does not replace Co in the porphyrin. This non-reversible exchange is investigated in detail by X-ray absorption spectroscopy complemented by scanning tunneling microscopy. Density functional theory illuminates possible reaction pathways and leads to the conclusion that the transmetalation proceeds through the adsorption of initially metallic (neutral) Co onto the porphyrin and the expulsion of Fe towards the surface accompanied by Co insertion. Our findings have important implications for the fabrication of porphyrin layers on surfaces when subject to the additional deposition of metals. Mixed-metal porphyrin layers can be fabricated by design in a solvent-free process, but conversely care must be taken that the transmetalation does not proceed as an undesired side reaction.

Graphical abstract: On-surface transmetalation of metalloporphyrins

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Article information

Article type
12 Jun 2018
25 Oct 2018
First published
26 Oct 2018
This article is Open Access
Creative Commons BY license

Nanoscale, 2018,10, 21116-21122

On-surface transmetalation of metalloporphyrins

D. Hötger, P. Abufager, C. Morchutt, P. Alexa, D. Grumelli, J. Dreiser, S. Stepanow, P. Gambardella, H. F. Busnengo, M. Etzkorn, R. Gutzler and K. Kern, Nanoscale, 2018, 10, 21116 DOI: 10.1039/C8NR04786C

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