A team of researchers at Aarhus University captured this image showing a network of linked molecules lying flat on a surface. They made the two-dimensional material—a form of cobalt carbon nitride—by vaporizing cobalt metal and melamine in an ultrahigh vacuum chamber. As the two ingredients settled on a gold surface, the melamine molecules formed bonds to each other in an orderly fashion, creating a honeycomb-like pattern of carbon and nitrogen atoms with cobalt atoms inserting themselves periodically in some of the vacancies. You can see how the atoms map onto this scanning tunneling micrograph in the image below (C = gray, N = blue, Co = pink).
After creating this material, the researchers, led by Jeppe Vang Lauritsen and Zhaozong Sun, showed that it could be used as an electrocatalyst, with potential applications in energy storage and electrosynthesis.
Credit: Zhaozong Sun, Jens Jakob Gammelgaard and Anders K. Vestergaard. Read the paper in ACS Nano, DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.3c05996.
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