The fate of bromine after temperature-induced dehydrogenation of on-surface synthesized bisheptahelicene
The on-surface synthesis of bisheptahelicene by Ullmann coupling of 9-bromoheptahelicene on Au(111) and its temperature-induced dehydrogenation is studied using temperature-programmed reaction spectroscopy and time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry. Specific dehydrogenation products of bisheptahelicene after loss of 6, 8 and 10 hydrogen atoms are identified, corresponding to molecules having undergone Diels–Alder transformations and intramolecular C–C coupling reactions. By combining with atomic hydrogen produced by dehydrogenation, the Ullmann coupling side-product bromine desorbs as HBr. H2 desorption emerges only after all Br has desorbed. Such characteristic behavior is explained by a kinetic model which explicitly considers the coverage of transient atomic H on the surface. Heating experiments performed with saturated layers of different Br-containing molecules reveal that the onset of HBr desorption depends strictly on the dehydrogenation step and therefore on the structure of the molecules.