Mapping Complex Chiral Adlayers: A Truly Random 2-D Solid Solution of (RS)-3-Pyrroline-2-Carboxylic Acid on Cu(110)
Magazine article, 2011

The characterization of chiral molecular adlayers remains a considerable challenge, ultimately requiring detailed knowledge of the molecular chirality, the chemical form, molecular orientation, and interaction with the surface for each molecule within the assembly. In this work, we show that the (4 x 2) organization of a racemic mixture of the amino acid derivative 3-pyrroline-2-carboxylic acid (PCA) on Cu(110) may be analyzed at the single-molecule level in which the molecular chirality and adsorption footprints of each molecule are identified. Such a detailed mapping reveals the surprising outcome that within the racemic (4 x 2) organization the adlayer does not form either the 2-D racemic compound or racemic conglomerate. Instead, both the molecular chirality and adsorption footprints are randomly distributed, creating a truly random solid solution in which both molecular chirality and footprint chirality are scrambled.


enantiopure alanine

asymmetric hydrogenation




single-molecule level



adsorption footprints


M. Forster

University of Liverpool

M. S. Dyer

University of Liverpool

S. D. Barrett

University of Liverpool

Mats Persson

Chalmers, Applied Physics, Materials and Surface Theory

R. Raval

University of Liverpool

Journal of Physical Chemistry C

1932-7447 (ISSN) 1932-7455 (eISSN)

Vol. 115 4 1180-1185

Subject Categories

Materials Engineering

Chemical Sciences



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