Kagome metal-organic framework

Dhaneesh Kumar has extensively studied the on-surface properties of the DCA molecule for his PhD. After getting a good handle on just the DCA on Ag111, we started sprinkling some Cu atoms into the mix.

We observed the same honeycomb kagome structure that forms on Cu111– as seen in an ncAFM force volume shown in the right image. It has also been synthesized on graphene.

The key difference we observed on Ag111 was the Kondo effect, an STS peak at Fermi we tracked up to 150 K!

The consistent spatial distribution of this feature across the MOF was another key observation.

ncAFM force volume of DCA (structure superimposed upper right) self-assembly on Cu111 surface. dZ denotes lift of sensor away from surface for each frame.

Bernard put in the hard yards with DFT/ +U calculations in conjunction with mean-field Hubbard modelling to rationalise our experimental observations as strong Coulomb interactions between electrons within the kagome MOF.

STS maps
dI/dV STS mapping at biases indicated upper left
DCA Cu Kagome schematic
Schematic of Kondo screened spin moments within the MOF. Blender by Dhaneesh

We’re excited by the possibilities for solid-state architectures to offer further access & control of these intriguing quantum states.

Kumar, D., et. al. (2021). Manifestation of Strongly Correlated Electrons in a 2D Kagome Metal–Organic Framework. Advanced Functional Materials, 2106474. https://doi.org/10.1002/adfm.202106474

ArXiv link
FLEET blog

Concerted Proton Transfer

We stumbled on a very curious observation in the summer of 2018 with DABQDI molecules provided by Olivier Siri‘s team.

ncAFM image of 26 molecule chain. Unfiltered data.
STM chain manipulation
Repeated manipulations with STM tip are capable of dragging a DABQDI chain around the Au111 surface.

While evaluating its experimental suitability for 1d coordination with metals, which has already proven to be fruitful, we noticed the molecules forming chain-like structures even before we introduced metal adatoms.

The low temperature SPM results are sublime: unusual mechanical stability, distinctive intermolecular bonding, and near-Fermi electronic states lighting up at the ends of the chains.

It took an extraordinary cast of theorists hailing from Pavel’s core group, FZU, Charles, Reykjavik, & Madrid Universities to unravel this puzzle and explain these observations as concerted proton tunneling causing a delocalization of electrons.

“Significance of Nuclear Quantum Effects in Hydrogen Bonded Molecular Chains”, ACS Nano, 2021. 10.1021/acsnano.1c02572

ArXiv link