Conformal Embedding of Cluster Superlattices with Carbon.ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 2019; 11(43):40524-40532AA
Iridium cluster superlattices on the graphene moiré with Ir(111) are embedded with elemental carbon through vapor-phase deposition. Using scanning tunneling microscopy and spectroscopy, we find that carbon embedding is conformal and does not deteriorate the excellent order of the iridium clusters. The thermal and mechanical stability of the embedded clusters is greatly enhanced. Smoluchowski ripening as well as cluster pick-up by the scanning tunneling microscopy tip are both suppressed. The only cluster decay path left takes place at an elevated temperature of around 1050 K. The cluster material penetrates through the graphene sheet, whereby it becomes bound to the underlying metal. It is argued that conformal carbon embedding is an important step towards the formation of a new type of sintering-resistant cluster lattice material for nanocatalysis and nanomagnetism.