Visualization of π-hole in molecules by means of Kelvin probe force microscopy

05 April 2023, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Submolecular charge distribution significantly affects the physical-chemical properties of molecules and their mutual interaction. One example is the presence of a π-electron-deficient cavity in halogen-substituted polyaromatic hydrocarbon compounds, the so-called π-holes, the existence of which was predicted theoretically, but the direct experimental observation is still missing. Here we present the resolution of the π-hole on a single molecule using the Kelvin probe force microscopy, which confirms the theoretical prediction of its existence. In addition, experimental measurements supported by theoretical calculations show the importance of π-holes in the process of adsorption of molecules on solid-state surfaces. This study expands our understanding of the π-hole systems and, at the same time, opens up possibilities for studying the influence of submolecular charge distribution on the chemical properties of molecules and their mutual interaction.


halogen bonding


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