Controling molecular self-assembly at the liquid-solid interface.
Surfaces and interfaces are everywhere. The properties of surfaces can be modified or altered by the adsorption of molecules. While in many cases, such thin films are disordered, forming and controlling two-dimensional (2D) molecular patterns on surfaces has many important implications. Through appropriate manipulation of intermolecular interactions and molecule-substrate interactions one can “encode” the information at the molecular level via structural features such as shape, functional groups, etc. A clearer understanding and effective use of these interactions could lead to the development of functional surfaces with potential applications in molecular electronics, chiral separations, sensors based on hostguest systems, thin film materials for lubrication-to mention a few. In this project, we aim not only at functionalizing surfaces via the formation of so-called 2D crystals, by directing the molecular self-assembly process, we also aim at maximizing the size of the 2D crystals, and to have control on the orientation of the molecules. Scanning tunneling microscopy and atomic force microscopy will be used to visualize the surface-supported molecular nanopatterns. Temperature annealing and shear-flow are the two approaches that will be tested and implemented in this project. In addition, we will apply these basis concepts in the fields of surface reactivity, surface chirality, and supramolecular electronics.