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2D versus 3D self-assembly of a series of 5-alkoxyisophthalic acids

E. Frederick, J.D. Cojal González, J.P. Rabe, S.L. Bernasek – 2018

Physisorbed self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) have been suggested as potential models for three-dimensional (3D) crystallization. This work studies the effect of altering the chain length of 5-alkoxyisophthalic acid (CnISA) on self-assembled morphology in both two-dimensional (2D) and 3D to explore the extent comparisons can be drawn between dimensions. Previous studies of 5-alkoxyisophthalic acid at solid–liquid interfaces (2D) reported different morphologies for C5ISA and C6ISA-alkoxy chains on the one hand and C10ISA and C18ISA on the other. Independently, also in 3D a dependence of morphology on chain length has been reported, including an unexpected inclusion of a solvent in the 3D morphology of C6ISA, while the previous reports of 2D self-assembly were driven only by molecule–molecule and molecule–substrate interactions. However, a complete set of data for comparison has been missing. Here, we report scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and molecular dynamics simulations performed for C2ISA self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) and STM imaging of C6ISA–C9ISA SAMs, to further examine self-assembly behavior in 2D. In 3D, X-ray diffraction analysis of C2ISA single crystals was carried out to complete the data set. With a complete set of data, it was observed that regardless of the dimension, short-chain-length CnISAs formed H-bonding-dominated structures, mid-chain-length CnISAs exhibited solvent-dependent morphologies, and long-chain-length CnISAs displayed van der Waals-dominated solvent-independent structures. However, the transition point among morphologies occurred at different chain lengths in 2D and 3D regardless of the dominant interaction. The results of this study inform the design of 2D films and guide the application of knowledge from physisorbed SAMs to 3D systems, including mixed-dimensional (2D/3D) van der Waals heterostructures.

2D versus 3D self-assembly of a series of 5-alkoxyisophthalic acids
E. Frederick, J.D. Cojal González, J.P. Rabe, S.L. Bernasek
Langmuir 2018, 34, 36, 10739-10747