Skip to main content

Tunable self-assembly of one-dimensional nanostructures with orthogonal directions


High-temperature exposure of a Mo(110) surface to borazine (HBNH)3leads to the formation of two distinctly different self-assembling nanostructures. Depending on the substrate temperature during preparation, either well-aligned, ultra-thin boron nanowires or a single-layer stripe structure of hexagonal boron nitride forms. Both structures show one-dimensional (1D) characteristics, but in directions perpendicular to each other. It is also possible to grow the two phases in coexistence. The relative weights are controlled by the sample temperature during preparation.



  1. 1.

    Barth JV, Costantini G, Kern K: Nature. 2005, 437: 671. COI number [1:CAS:528:DC%2BD2MXhtVCjsLzI], 10.1038/nature04166

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Tamai A, Auwärter W, Cepek C, Baumberger F, Greber T, Osterwalder J: Surf. Sci. 2004, 566: 633. 10.1016/j.susc.2004.06.127

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Himpsel FJ, Kirakosian A, Crain JN, Lin J-L, Petrovykh DY: Solid State Commun. 2001, 117: 149. COI number [1:CAS:528:DC%2BD3cXoslSlsLs%3D], 10.1016/S0038-1098(00)00441-5

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Kern K, Niehus H, Schatz A, Zeppenfeld P, George J, Comsa G: Phys. Rev. Lett. 1991, 67: 855. COI number [1:CAS:528:DyaK3MXlsVehs7k%3D], 10.1103/PhysRevLett.67.855

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Lukas S, Witte G, Woell Ch: Phys. Rev. Lett. 2002, 88: 028301. COI number [1:STN:280:DC%2BD38%2Fns1eqsg%3D%3D], 10.1103/PhysRevLett.88.028301

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Nagashima A, Tejima N, Gamou Y, Kawai T, Oshima C: Phys. Rev. Lett. 1995, 75: 3918. COI number [1:CAS:528:DyaK2MXpsVyhurg%3D], 10.1103/PhysRevLett.75.3918

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Corso M, Auwärter W, Muntwiler M, Tamai A, Greber T, Osterwalder J: Science. 2004, 303: 217. COI number [1:CAS:528:DC%2BD2cXhtlGiug%3D%3D], 10.1126/science.1091979

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Corso M, Greber T, Osterwalder J: Surf. Sci. 2005, 577: L78. COI number [1:CAS:528:DC%2BD2MXhs1ygs7k%3D], 10.1016/j.susc.2005.01.015

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Morscher M, Corso M, Greber T, Osterwalder J: Surf. Sci. 2006, 600: 3280 . COI number [1:CAS:528:DC%2BD28Xos12lsLc%3D], 10.1016/j.susc.2006.06.016

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Greber T, Raetzo O, Kreutz TJ, Schwaller P, Deichmann W, Wetli E, Osterwalder J: Rev. Sci. Instrum. 1997, 68: 4549. COI number [1:CAS:528:DyaK2sXotVOrs7g%3D], 10.1063/1.1148429

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Kröger J, Greber T, Osterwalder J: Phys. Rev. B. 2000, 61: 14146. 10.1103/PhysRevB.61.14146

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Auwärter W, Kreutz TJ, Greber T, Osterwalder J: Surf. Sci. 1999, 429: 229. 10.1016/S0039-6028(99)00381-7

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Grad G, Blaha P, Schwarz K, Auwärter W, Greber T: Phys. Rev. B. 2003, 68: 085404. 10.1103/PhysRevB.68.085404

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Greber T, Brandenberger L, Corso M, Tamai A, Osterwalder J: e-J. Surf. Sci. Nanotech. 2006, 4: 410. COI number [1:CAS:528:DC%2BD28XltVegu7g%3D], 10.1380/ejssnt.2006.410

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Quandt A, Boustani I: ChemPhysChem. 2005, 6: 2001. COI number [1:CAS:528:DC%2BD2MXhtFOqsbrP], 10.1002/cphc.200500205

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Seongbok L, Bylander DM, Kleinman L: Phys. Rev. B. 1990, 42: 1316. 10.1103/PhysRevB.42.1316

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Sabra MK, Boustani I: Europhys. Lett. 1998, 42: 611. 10.1209/epl/i1998-00295-7

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Evans MH, Joannopoulos JD, Pantelides ST: Phys. Rev. B. 2005, 72: 045434. 10.1103/PhysRevB.72.045434

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Osterwalder J, Aebi P, Fasel R, Naumovic D, Schwaller P, Kreutz T, Schlapbach L, Abukawa T, Kono S: Surf. Sci. 1995, 333: 1002. 10.1016/0039-6028(95)00076-3

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Kaduwela AP, Friedman DJ, Fadley CS: J. Electron Spectrosc. Relat Phenom. 1991, 57: 223. COI number [1:CAS:528:DyaK38XntFagsw%3D%3D], 10.1016/0368-2048(91)80013-K

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Powell CJ: Appl. Surf. Sci. 1995, 89: 141. COI number [1:CAS:528:DyaK2MXlvFKis7g%3D], 10.1016/0169-4332(95)00027-5

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Schreifels JA, Maybury PC, Swartz WE: J. Catal. 1980, 65: 195. COI number [1:CAS:528:DyaL3cXlvFaktLk%3D], 10.1016/0021-9517(80)90294-8

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Ronning C, Schwen D, Eyhusen S, Vetter U, Hofsass H: Surf. Coat. Technol. 2002, 158: 382. 10.1016/S0257-8972(02)00248-7

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Takashi G, Toshio H: J. Mater. Sci. Lett. 1988, 7: 548. 10.1007/BF01730723

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Huang Y, Duan XF, Wei QQ, Lieber CM: Science. 2001, 291: 630. COI number [1:CAS:528:DC%2BD3MXntlWlsw%3D%3D], 10.1126/science.291.5504.630

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Schadt M, Schmitt K, Kozinkov V, Chigrinov V: Jpn. J. Appl. Phys. 1992, 31: 2155. COI number [1:CAS:528:DyaK38XlvVWls74%3D], 10.1143/JJAP.31.2155

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


The authors would like to thank Martin Klöckner and Erwin Fischer (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich) for technical support, Hermann Sachdev (Universität des Saarlandes) for the production of borazine, and Martin Morscher, Matthias Hengsberger, Anna Tamai and Jörg Kröger (Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel) for fruitful discussions. This work was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) and by the European Union’s Sixth Framework Programme via the NanoMesh project (NMP4-CT-2004–013817).

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jürg Osterwalder.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Allan, M.P., Berner, S., Corso, M. et al. Tunable self-assembly of one-dimensional nanostructures with orthogonal directions. Nanoscale Res Lett 2, 94 (2007).

Download citation


  • Hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN)
  • Boron
  • One-dimensional nanostructures
  • Nanowire
  • Photoemission
  • Scanning tunneling microscopy (STM)
  • Low energy electron diffraction (LEED)