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A close look at structure, dynamics, and reactivity of water-insoluble molecules at electrified interfaces with scanning tunnelling microscopy


The properties of nanostructures are improved when compared to conventional materials, and open the possibility of their application in fields such as medical diagnosis, materials science, sensor technology, etc.

The European Union has acknowledged the contribution of nanotechnology to sustainable development, and has stated this area as a priority in the Frame Programme 6 (FP6). Nanostructures can be built from a bottom-up approach that assembles atoms and molecules into working devices.

This approach show s a great potential to develop complex systems comparable to those obtained from Natures self-assembly processes. It enables an effective rational handling of nanostructures, and is therefore of significant value to nanotechnology. CLARITY focuses on the development of a bottom-up methodology for the formation of nanostructures based on an interdisciplinary approach involving electrochemistry and scanning tunnelling microscopy (EC-STM).

The use of an electrochemical environment coupled with scanning tunnelling microscopy enables to tune the self-assembly process and to visualize the physisorbed patterns with submolecular resolution. Formation of hierarchically controlled functional nanostructures on surfaces will be realized by potential controlled two-dimensional (2D) self-assembly of water-insoluble molecules on metallic surfaces.

The central building blocks are alkylated water-insoluble 5-alkoxy-isophthalic acid derivatives. Potential induced conformational switching of pH sensitive water-insoluble molecules on a metallic surface combined with high-resolution EC-STM imaging will be explored, leading to switchable surfaces.

Metallic substrates will be used as templates to pre-organize chemical reactants which subsequently will be polymerised into 1D and 2D polymers under potential control. Finally, the enantioselective deposition of molecules on top of a water-insoluble chiral template layer will be targeted.

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