Motion of Fullerenes around Topological Defects on Metals: Implications for the Progress of Molecular Scale Devices
Research on motion of molecules in the presence of thermal noise is central for progress in two-terminal molecular scale electronic devices. However, it is still unclear what influence imperfections in bottom metal electrode surface can have on molecular motion. Here, we report a two-layer crowding study, detailing the early stages of surface motion of fullerene molecules on Au(111) with nanoscale pores in a n-tetradecane chemical environment. The motion of the fullerenes is directed by crowding of the underlying n-tetradecane molecules around the pore fringes at the liquid-solid interface. We observe in real-space the growth of molecular populations around different pore geometries. Supported by atomic-scale modeling, our findings extend the established picture of molecular crowding by revealing that trapped solvent molecules serve as prime nucleation sites at nanopore fringes.