In the Nanocar race competition the molecules are raced on a gold surface. Is there a specific property of gold that it forms a good "racetrack"? On what criteria does it compare with other metal surfaces?

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    $\begingroup$ While adsorption certainly is needed, the gold might be also there for contingent reason, as imaging via AFM and sample preparation. For instance , if the substrate must be conductive, than something rather inert would be preferable to iron. Let us wait for a more informed user. I just point to (also) not intrinsic race related reason. $\endgroup$ – Alchimista Apr 12 '19 at 9:44

While I can't find specific justification for the surface, the first competition involved both gold and silver "racetracks."

The competition involves propulsion and imaging using STM so the substrate must be conductive. Gold (and silver to a lesser degree) is particularly useful, since it won't easily oxidize and is easy to purify.

I've seen several comments about having 'tracks' in the gold surface, which suggests a well-defined crystal face with reconstruction, e.g. Au(100):

Au(100) surface reconstruction from Wikipedia

(Image from Wikipedia)

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    $\begingroup$ I know a few people interested in "theoretical" nano car racing simulations, and will revise my answer as I hear back about specific reasons. $\endgroup$ – Geoff Hutchison Nov 13 '19 at 20:03

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