First observation of templated quasicrystalline molecular ordering

Our latest publication (in Nano Letters) describes the first observations of molecular layers on a quasicrystal that are induced to show quasicrystalline ordering.  The quality of ordering is astonishing, with every molecule situated in a location consistent with the underlying quasicrystal.  Once again, those workhorse molecules, carbon-60 and pentacene, are the focus.  Each type of molecule grows in a quasicrystalline fashion atop a different quasicrystalline substrate.

Personally, I have been trying to do this for at least the last seven years.  The original idea was to find a way to use quasicrystals (which can be grown, as opposed to painstakingly constructed), to enforce quasicrystalline ordering on larger length scales. Why? Because quasicrystalline symmetries are incredibly useful in terms of their effect on properties such as wave propagation through lattices.  It’s reasonably complicated, but in a nutshell, one can almost completely control wave propagation in all directions if one can construct a quasicrystalline lattice for the waves to propagate through.  Of course, real quasicrystals have a lattice measured in angstroms, so control propagation of electrons and x-rays.  Larger entities could potentially control visible light, or maybe produce more effective waveguides for UV lithography – the list does go on.  Anyway, from this came the desire to show quasicrystals templating something – anything – that showed a tendency for quasicrystalline ordering on a different scale to the original quasicrystal.  And guess what? Buckminsterfullerene to the rescue.Image

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