Chemically Directing D-Block Heterometallics to Nanocrystal Surfaces as Molecular Beacons of Surface Structure
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Our understanding of structure and bonding in nanoscale materials is incomplete without knowledge of their surface structure. Needed are better surveying capabilities responsive not only to different atoms at the surface, but also their respective coordination environments. We report here that d-block organometallics, when placed at nanocrystal surfaces through heterometallic bonds, serve as molecular beacons broadcasting local surface structure in atomic detail. This unique ability stems from their elemental specificity and the sensitivity of their d-orbital level alignment to local coordination environment, which can be assessed spectroscopically. Re-surfacing cadmium and lead chalcogenide nanocrystals with iron- or ruthenium-based molecular beacons is readily accomplished with trimethylsilylated cyclopentadienyl metal carbonyls. For PbSe nanocrystals with iron-based beacons, we show how core-level X-ray spectroscopies and DFT calculations enrich our understanding of both charge and atomic reorganization at the surface when beacons are bound.