We fabricate artificial molecules composed of heavy atom lead on a van der Waals crystal. Pb atoms templated on a honeycomb charge-order superstructure of IrTe2 form clusters ranging from dimers to heptamers including benzene-shaped ring hexamers. Tunneling spectroscopy and electronic structure calculations reveal the formation of unusual relativistic molecular orbitals within the clusters. The spin–orbit coupling is essential both in forming such Dirac electronic states and stabilizing the artificial molecules by reducing the adatom–substrate interaction. Lead atoms are found to be ideally suited for a maximized relativistic effect. This work initiates the use of novel two-dimensional orderings to guide the fabrication of artificial molecules of unprecedented properties.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
J.W.P., H.S.K., and H.W.Y. were supported by Institute for Basic Science (grant no. IBS-R014-D1). The IrTe2 crystal was provided by S.W. Cheong in Rutgers University. J. Lee is appreciated for his help in data processing. T.B. and T.H. used the ZIH Dresden computational resources.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)