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Substrate Templating upon Self-Assembly of Hydrogen-Bonded Molecular Networks on an Insulating Surface

Authors

  • Philipp Rahe,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institut für Physikalische Chemie, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Duesbergweg 10-14, 55099 Mainz, Germany
    Current affiliation:
    1. Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Utah, 115 South 1400 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA
    • Institut für Physikalische Chemie, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Duesbergweg 10-14, 55099 Mainz, Germany.
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  • Markus Nimmrich,

    1. Institut für Physikalische Chemie, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Duesbergweg 10-14, 55099 Mainz, Germany
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  • Angelika Kühnle

    1. Institut für Physikalische Chemie, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Duesbergweg 10-14, 55099 Mainz, Germany
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Abstract

Molecular self-assembly on insulating surfaces, despite being highly relvant to many applications, generally suffers from the weak molecule–surface interactions present on dielectric surfaces, especially when benchmarked against metallic substrates. Therefore, to fully exploit the potential of molecular self-assembly, increasing the influence of the substrate constitutes an essential prerequisite. Upon deposition of terephthalic acid and trimesic acid onto the natural cleavage plane of calcite, extended hydrogen-bonded networks are formed, which wet the substrate. The observed structural complexity matches the variety realized on metal surfaces. A detailed analysis of the molecular structures observed on calcite reveals a significant influence of the underlying substrate, clearly indicating a substantial templating effect of the surface on the resulting molecular networks. This work demonstrates that choosing suitable molecule/substrate systems allows for tuning the balance between intermolecular and molecule–surface interactions even in the case of typically weakly interacting insulating surfaces. This study, thus, provides a strategy for deliberately exploiting substrate templating to increase the structural variety in molecular self-assembly on a bulk insulator at room temperature.

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