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A Foldamer at the Liquid/Graphite Interface: The Effect of Interfacial Interactions, Solvent, Concentration, and Temperature

Authors

  • Dr. Yong-Tao Shen ,

    1. National Center for Nanoscience and Technology (NCNST), Beijing 100190 (P. R. China)
    2. School of Materials Science and Engineering, Tianjin Key Laboratory of Composite and Functional Materials, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072 (P. R. China)
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  • Ningbo Zhu,

    1. Department of Applied Chemistry and the Key Laboratory of Polymer Chemistry and Physics of the Ministry of Education, College of Chemistry, Peking University, Beijing 100871 (P. R. China)
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  • Xue-Mei Zhang,

    1. National Center for Nanoscience and Technology (NCNST), Beijing 100190 (P. R. China)
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  • Dr. Ke Deng,

    1. National Center for Nanoscience and Technology (NCNST), Beijing 100190 (P. R. China)
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  • Prof. Wei Feng,

    1. School of Materials Science and Engineering, Tianjin Key Laboratory of Composite and Functional Materials, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072 (P. R. China)
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  • Qifan Yan,

    1. Department of Applied Chemistry and the Key Laboratory of Polymer Chemistry and Physics of the Ministry of Education, College of Chemistry, Peking University, Beijing 100871 (P. R. China)
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  • Prof. Shengbin Lei,

    Corresponding author
    1. The Academy of Fundamental and Interdisciplinary Science, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, 150080 (P. R. China)
    • The Academy of Fundamental and Interdisciplinary Science, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, 150080 (P. R. China)
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  • Prof. Dahui Zhao,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Applied Chemistry and the Key Laboratory of Polymer Chemistry and Physics of the Ministry of Education, College of Chemistry, Peking University, Beijing 100871 (P. R. China)
    • Department of Applied Chemistry and the Key Laboratory of Polymer Chemistry and Physics of the Ministry of Education, College of Chemistry, Peking University, Beijing 100871 (P. R. China)
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  • Prof. Qing-Dao Zeng,

    Corresponding author
    1. National Center for Nanoscience and Technology (NCNST), Beijing 100190 (P. R. China)
    • National Center for Nanoscience and Technology (NCNST), Beijing 100190 (P. R. China)
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  • Prof. Chen Wang

    Corresponding author
    1. National Center for Nanoscience and Technology (NCNST), Beijing 100190 (P. R. China)
    • National Center for Nanoscience and Technology (NCNST), Beijing 100190 (P. R. China)
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Abstract

The unfolding process and self-assembly of a foldable oligomer (foldamer 1) at the liquid/graphite interface were investigated by scanning tunnelling microscopy. At the level of molecular conformation, we identified several molecular conformations (Az, B, C, D, E) that represent intermediate states during unfolding, which may help to elucidate the unfolding process at the liquid/graphite interface. Adsorption at the interface traps the intermediate states of the unfolding process, and STM has proved to be a powerful technique for investigating folding and unfolding of a foldamer at the molecular level, which are not accessible by other methods. The STM observations also revealed that varying the solvent and/or concentration results in different self-assemblies of foldamer 1 as a result of variations in molecular conformations. The solvent and concentration effects were attributed to the changes in existing states (extended or folded) of foldamers in solution, which in turn affect the distribution of adsorbed molecular conformations at the interface. This mechanism is quite different from other systems in which solvent and concentration effects were also observed.

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