The surface trans effect: Influence of axial ligands on the surface chemical bonds of adsorbed metalloporphyrins

Wolfgang Hieringer, Ken Flechtner, Andreas Kretschmann, Knud Seufert, Willi Auwärter, Johannes V. Barth, Andreas Görling, Hans Peter Steinrück, J. Michael Gottfried

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The chemical bond between an adsorbed, laterally coordinated metal ion and a metal surface is affected by an additional axial ligand on the metal ion. This surface analogon of the trans effect was studied in detail using monolayers of various M(II)-tetraphenylporphyrins (MTTPs, M = Fe, Co, Zn) and their nitrosyl complexes on a Ag(111) surface. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) shows that the oxidation state of the Fe and Co (but not Zn) ions in the MTPP monolayers is reduced because of the interaction with the substrate. This partial reduction is accompanied by the appearance of new valence states in the UV photoelectron and scanning tunneling spectra (UPS and STS), revealing the covalent character of the ion-substrate bond. Subsequent coordination of nitric oxide (NO) to the metal ions (Fe, Co) reverses these surface-induced effects, resulting in an increase of the oxidation states and the disappearance of the new valence states. Removal of the NO ligands by thermal desorption restores the original spectroscopic features, indicating that the described processes are fully reversible. The NO coordination also changes the spin state and thus the magnetic properties of the metal ions. Density-functional theory (DFT) calculations on model systems provide structural and energetic data on the adsorbed molecules and the surface chemical bond. The calculations reveal that competition effects, similar to the trans effect, play a central role and lead to a mutual interference of the two axial ligands, NO and Ag, and their bonds to the metal center. These findings have important implications for sensor technology and catalysis using supported planar metal complexes, in which the activity of the metal center is sensitively influenced by the substrate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6206-6222
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number16
StatePublished - 27 Apr 2011


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