Hybrid sp-sp(2) structures can be efficiently obtained on metal substrates via on-surface synthesis. The choice of both the precursor and the substrate impacts on the effectiveness of the process and the stability of the formed structures. Here we demonstrate that using anthracene-based precursor molecules on Au(111) the formation of polymers hosting sp carbon chains is affected by the steric hindrance between aromatic groups. In particular, by scanning tunneling microscopy experiments and density functional theory simulations we show that the de-metalation of organometallic structures induces a lateral separation of adjacent polymers that prevents the formation of ordered domains. This study contributes to the understanding of the mechanisms driving the on-surface synthesis processes, a fundamental step toward the realization of novel carbon-based nanostructures with perspective applications in nanocatalysis, photoconversion, and nano-electronics.
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