Synthesis and Nanoscale Characterization of Hierarchically Assembled Molecular Nanosheets
in: Advanced Materials Interfaces (2022)
Chemical functionalization of molecular 2D materials toward the assembly of hierarchical functional nanostructures is of great importance for nano-technology including areas like artificial photocatalytic systems, nanobiosen-sors, or ultrafiltration. To achieve the desired functionality of 2D materials, these need to be characterized down to the nanoscale. However, obtaining the respective chemical information is challenging and generally requires the application of complementary experimental techniques. Here, the syn-thesis and chemical characterization of hierarchically assembled molecular nanosheets based on ≈1 nm thin, molecular carbon nanomembrane (CNM) and covalently grafted, single-molecule layer cobalt(III) catalysts for the light-driven hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) is demonstrated. X-ray photoelec-tron spectroscopy (XPS) and tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (TERS) to access both the transversal and longitudinal chemical information of the syn-thesized nanosheets with nanometer resolution are employed. TERS and XPS data provide detailed information on the average and local surface distribu-tion of the catalyst as well as mechanistic details of the grafting reaction. The proposed approach represents a general route toward a nanoscale structural analysis for a variety of molecular 2D materials—a rapidly growing materials class with broad prospects for fundamental science and applications.