The electronic interaction of two molecules, the aromatic benzene (C6H6) and the saturated hydrocarbon cyclohexane (C6H12) with a Cu(111) surface, have been determined using precise, ab initio electronic structure calculations. For the interaction of these adsorbates with the substrate, we present a detailed analysis and decomposition of various individual chemical mechanisms that contribute. A novel aspect of this analysis is the use of charge-density difference contour plots to graphically display the chemistry. A wave-function-based approach was used in order to avoid problems when the presently most commonly employed approach, density-functional theory, is applied to weakly chemisorbed molecules, where the interaction is dominated by van der Waals forces. The present information are not only relevant with regard to understanding the chemistry going on when molecules are adsorbed on a Cu surface but also have important consequences with regard to charge injection in molecular electronic devices, e.g., organic field-effect transistors and organic light-emitting diodes.

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