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Jongseong Park, Sol Lee, Orein Francis Jafter, Jinwoo Cheon, and Dominik Lungerich*
Electron Beam-Induced Demetallation of Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Pd, and Pt Metalloporphyrins: Insights in E-beam Chemistry and Metal Cluster Formations
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., online published
Date: Jan 31, 2024

Electron beams are versatile tools for nanoscale fabrication processes, however, the underlying e-beam chemistry remains in its infancy. Through operando transmission electron microscopy investigations, we elucidate a redox-driven cargo release of individual metal atoms triggered by electron beams. The chosen organic delivery molecule, tetraphenylporphyrin (TPP), proves highly versatile, forming complexes with nearly all metals from the periodic table and being easily processed in solution. A comprehensive cinematographic analysis of the dynamics of single metal atoms confirms the nearly instantaneous ejection of complexed metal atoms under an 80 kV electron beam, underscoring the system's broad versatility. Providing mechanistic insights, we employ density functional theory to support the proposed reductive demetallation pathway facilitated by secondary electrons, contributing novel perspectives to electron beam-mediated chemical reaction mechanisms. Lastly, our findings demonstrate that all seven metals investigated form nanoclusters once ejected from TPP, highlighting the method's potential for studying and developing sustainable single-atom and nanocluster catalysts.

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