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The electronic and magnetic properties of nanographenes strongly depend on their size, shape and topology. While many nanographenes present a closed-shell electronic structure, certain molecular topologies may lead to an open-shell structure. Triangular-shaped nanographenes with zigzag edges, which exist as neutral radicals, are of considerable interest both in fundamental science and for future technologies aimed at harnessing their intrinsic high-spin magnetic ground states for spin-based operations and information storage. Their synthesis, however, is extremely challenging owing to the presence of unpaired electrons, which confers them with enhanced reactivity. We report a combined in-solution and on-surface synthesis of π-extended triangulene, a non-Kekulé nanographene with the structural formula CH, consisting of ten benzene rings fused in a triangular fashion. The distinctive topology of the molecule entails the presence of three unpaired electrons that couple to form a spin quartet ground state. The structure of individual molecules adsorbed on an inert gold surface is confirmed through ultra-high-resolution scanning tunneling microscopy. The electronic properties are studied via scanning tunneling spectroscopy, wherein unambiguous spectroscopic signatures of the spin-split singly-occupied molecular orbitals are found. Detailed insight into its properties is obtained through tight-binding, density functional and many-body perturbation theory calculations, with the latter providing evidence that π-extended triangulene retains its open-shell quartet ground state on the surface. Our work provides unprecedented access to open-shell nanographenes with high-spin ground states, potentially useful in carbon-based spintronics.
PMID: 31241927 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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