Self-assembled functional materials



Our research is directed towards structure and morphology controlled self-assembling systems. Organic synthesis allows tailoring of the molecular building blocks and programming their capability for self-assembly by fine-tuning the intermolecular interactions. Those interactions are based on rather weak forces like van-der-Waals, π-π, and (weak) C-H···N interactions. Self-assembly takes place in molecular mono- and multilayers, bulk phases, and in solution. The generated assemblies represent functional units on the nanometer scale. Their functionality arises mainly from the molecular functional groups. Here, we are focussing on nitrogen containing heteroaromatic compounds.

Besides molecular self-assembly we are interested in colloidal systems like (nano)emulsions stabilized by various solid entities (Pickering-type stabilization) and structure formation therein.

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Latest Publications

Effect of a Bromine Substituent on the Self-Assembly of an Oligopyridine at the Liquid|Solid Interface

Synthesis and self-assembly of the first halogenated bis(terpyridine) (BTP) show that 2,4′-BTPBr forms two different morphologies at the solution|highly oriented pyrolytic graphite (HOPG) interface when deposited from 1,2,4-trichlorobenzene (TCB). 2,4′-BTPBr self-assembles either in a rectangular or an oblique unit cell, strongly deviating from the assembly behavior of the parent compound 2,4′-BTP. High-resolution images and energy considerations reveal that no halogen bonds are present. Instead, rather weak hydrogen bonds C−H···N are responsible for the adopted two-dimensional (2D) structures. Co-deposition of the brominated species with 2,4′- BTP results in phase separation, pointing to a highly expressed self-recognition process. This selectivity is based on a specific hydrogen bonding pattern and a minimization of the dipole moment.