Efficient screening of 2D molecular polymorphs at the solution–solid interface†
Formation of multiple polymorphs during two-dimensional (2D) crystallization of organic molecules is more of a routine occurrence than rarity. Although such diverse crystalline structures provide exciting possibilities for studying crystal engineering in 2D, predicting the occurrence of polymorphs for a given building block is often non-trivial. Moreover, there is scarcity of methods that can experimentally verify the presence of such crystalline polymorphs in a straightforward fashion. Here we demonstrate a relatively simple experimental approach for screening of 2D polymorphs formed at the solution–solid interface. The strategy involves use of solution flow produced by contacting a piece of tissue paper to the sample to generate a lateral density gradient along the substrate surface. In situ generation of such gradient allows rapid discovery and nanoscale separation of multiple 2D polymorphs in a single experiment. The concept is demonstrated using three structurally different building blocks that differ in terms of intermolecular interactions responsible for 2D crystal formation. The method described here represents a powerful tool for efficient screening of 2D polymorphs formed at the solution–solid interface.