Staff directory César Moreno Sierra



  • Bottom-up synthesis of multifunctional nanoporous graphene

    Moreno C., Vilas-Varela M., Kretz B., Garcia-Lekue A., Costache M.V., Paradinas M., Panighel M., Ceballos G., Valenzuela S.O., Peña D., Mugarza A. Science; 360 (6385): 199 - 203. 2018. 10.1126/science.aar2009. IF: 41.058

    Nanosize pores can turn semimetallic graphene into a semiconductor and, from being impermeable, into the most efficient molecular-sieve membrane. However, scaling the pores down to the nanometer, while fulfilling the tight structural constraints imposed by applications, represents an enormous challenge for present top-down strategies. Here we report a bottom-up method to synthesize nanoporous graphene comprising an ordered array of pores separated by ribbons, which can be tuned down to the 1-nanometer range. The size, density, morphology, and chemical composition of the pores are defined with atomic precision by the design of the molecular precursors. Our electronic characterization further reveals a highly anisotropic electronic structure, where orthogonal one-dimensional electronic bands with an energy gap of ∼1 electron volt coexist with confined pore states, making the nanoporous graphene a highly versatile semiconductor for simultaneous sieving and electrical sensing of molecular species. 2017 © The Authors

  • On-surface synthesis of superlattice arrays of ultra-long graphene nanoribbons

    Moreno C., Paradinas M., Vilas-Varela M., Panighel M., Ceballos G., Peña D., Mugarza A. Chemical Communications; 54 (68): 9402 - 9405. 2018. 10.1039/c8cc04830d. IF: 6.290

    We report the on-surface synthesis of graphene nanoribbon superlattice arrays directed by the herringbone reconstruction of the Au(111) surface. The uniaxial anisotropy of the zigzag pattern of the reconstruction defines a one dimensional grid for directing the Ullmann polymerization and inducing periodic arrays of parallel ultra-long nanoribbons (>100 nm), where the periodicity is varied with coverage at discrete values following a hierarchical templating behavior. © 2018 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

  • Pentacene/TiO2 Anatase Hybrid Interface Study by Scanning Probe Microscopy and First Principles Calculations

    Todorović M., Stetsovych O., Moreno C., Shimizu T.K., Custance O., Pérez R. ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces; 10 (40): 34718 - 34726. 2018. 10.1021/acsami.8b09203. IF: 8.097

    The understanding and control of the buried interface between functional materials in optoelectronic devices is key to improving device performance. We combined atomic resolution scanning probe microscopy with first-principles calculations to characterize the technologically relevant organic/inorganic interface structure between pentacene molecules and the TiO2 anatase (101) surface. A multipass atomic force microscopy imaging technique overcomes the technical challenge of imaging simultaneously the corrugated anatase substrate, molecular adsorbates, monolayers, and bilayers at the same level of detail. Submolecular resolution images revealed the orientation of the adsorbates with respect to the substrate and allowed direct insights into interface formation. Pentacene molecules were found to physisorb parallel to the anatase substrate in the first contact layer, passivating the surface and promoting bulk-like growth in further organic layers. While molecular electronic states were not significantly hybridized by the substrate, simulations predicted localized pathways for molecule-surface charge injection. The localized states were associated with the molecular lowest unoccupied molecular orbital inside the oxide conduction band, pointing to efficient transfer of photo-induced electron charge carriers across this interface in prospective photovoltaic devices. In uncovering the atomic arrangement and favorable electronic properties of the pentacene/anatase interface, our findings testify to the maturity and analytic power of our methodology in further studies of organic/inorganic interfaces. © 2018 American Chemical Society.


  • Symmetry forbidden morphologies and domain boundaries in nanoscale graphene islands

    Parreiras S.O., Gastaldo M., Moreno C., Martins M.D., Garcia-Lekue A., Ceballos G., Paniago R., Mugarza A. 2D Materials; 4 (2, 025104) 2017. 10.1088/2053-1583/aa70fa. IF: 6.937

    The synthesis of graphene nanoislands with tailored quantum properties requires an atomic control of the morphology and crystal structure. As one reduces their size down to the nanometer scale, domain boundary and edge energetics, as well as nucleation and growth mechanisms impose different stability and kinetic landscape from that at the microscale. This offers the possibility to synthesize structures that are exclusive to the nanoscale, but also calls for fundamental growth studies in order to control them. By employing high-resolution scanning tunneling microscopy we elucidate the atomic stacking configurations, domain boundaries, and edge structure of graphene nanoislands grown on Ni(1 1 1) by CVD and post-annealed at different temperatures. We find a non-conventional multistep mechanism that separates the thermal regimes for growth, edge reconstruction, and final stacking configuration, leading to nanoisland morphologies that are incompatible with their stacking symmetry. Whole islands shift their stacking configuration during cooling down, and others present continuous transitions at the edges. A statistical analysis of the domain structures obtained at different annealing temperatures reveals how polycrystalline, ill-defined structures heal into shape-selected islands of a single predominant stacking. The high crystallinity and the control on morphology and edge structure makes these graphene nanoislands ideal for their application in optoelectronics and spintronics. © 2017 IOP Publishing Ltd.


  • Atomic species identification at the (101) anatase surface by simultaneous scanning tunnelling and atomic force microscopy

    Stetsovych O., Todorovi A.M., Shimizu T.K., Moreno C., Ryan J.W., León C.P., Sagisaka K., Palomares E., Matolín V., Fujita D., Perez R., Custance O. Nature Communications; 6 ( 7265) 2015. 10.1038/ncomms8265. IF: 11.470

    Anatase is a pivotal material in devices for energy-harvesting applications and catalysis. Methods for the accurate characterization of this reducible oxide at the atomic scale are critical in the exploration of outstanding properties for technological developments. Here we combine atomic force microscopy (AFM) and scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM), supported by first-principles calculations, for the simultaneous imaging and unambiguous identification of atomic species at the (101) anatase surface. We demonstrate that dynamic AFM-STM operation allows atomic resolution imaging within the materiala € s band gap. Based on key distinguishing features extracted from calculations and experiments, we identify candidates for the most common surface defects. Our results pave the way for the understanding of surface processes, like adsorption of metal dopants and photoactive molecules, that are fundamental for the catalytic and photovoltaic applications of anatase, and demonstrate the potential of dynamic AFM-STM for the characterization of wide band gap materials. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.