American Chemical Society
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The Electron-Rich and Nucleophilic N‑Heterocyclic Imines on Metal Surfaces: Binding Modes and Interfacial Charge Transfer

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-03-08, 15:04 authored by Jindong Ren, Mowpriya Das, Helena Osthues, Marvin Nyenhuis, Bertram Schulze Lammers, Elena Kolodzeiski, Harry Mönig, Saeed Amirjalayer, Harald Fuchs, Nikos L. Doltsinis, Frank Glorius
The strongly electron-donating N-heterocyclic imines (NHIs) have been employed as excellent surface anchors for the thermodynamic stabilization of electron-deficient species due to their enhanced nucleophilicity. However, the binding mode and interfacial property of these new ligands are still unclear, representing a bottleneck for advanced applications in surface functionalization and catalysis. Here, NHIs with different side groups have been rationally designed, synthesized, and analyzed on various metal surfaces (Cu, Ag). Our results reveal different binding modes depending on the molecular structure and metal surface. The molecular design enables us to achieve a flat-lying or upright configuration and even a transition between these two binding modes depending on the coverage and time. Importantly, the two binding modes exhibit different degrees of interfacial charge transfer between the molecule and the surface. This study provides essential microscopic insight into the NHI adsorption geometry and interfacial charge transfer for the optimization of heterogeneous catalysts in coordination chemistry.