Quality control of on-surface-synthesised seven-atom wide armchair graphene nanoribbons
On-surface synthesis is a powerful method for fabricating atomically precise graphene nanoribbons (GNRs), but the products always include defective structures. In this study, scanning tunnelling microscopy and atomic force microscopy were used to determine the length distribution of armchair-edge GNRs with a width of seven carbon atoms (7-AGNRs) synthesised on Au(111) and to characterise defective structures. The product quality was improved by increasing the precursor deposition amount because of a preference for intermolecular polymerisation over intramolecular cyclodehydrogenation at a high coverage. However, the annealing rate had a complex effect on the quality, with a low rate elongating 7-AGNRs but degenerating the length uniformity. These insights advance the understanding of the critical parameters for obtaining high-quality products in high yield by on-surface synthesis.