Structural analysis of helicene molecules adsorbed on symmetric surfaces
Helicenes are chiral polyaromatic hydrocarbon molecules which self-assemble into ordered monolayers on solid substrates, and are of current interest in the study of supramolecular systems and the development of smart materials. In this work we investigate the geometry of helicene monomers and stacked dimers on (111) facets of coinage metals. The geometry of the adsorbed molecules is shaped by the coupling of intermolecular dispersive forces, intramolecular steric repulsion between end rings and surface-molecule interactions. Thus, binding and stereospecificity outcomes vary broadly depending on the identity of molecule/surface pair. Overall, homochiral interactions are found to be more effective than heterochiral stacking, due to a better fit between the helical structures in like dimers. On a surface, this effect is enhanced by the flattening of surface-proximal molecular rings. However, our results show that the “sandwich” effect of the second molecular layer increases molecular footprints in the first layer, with potentially large implications in monolayer organization and surface commensuration.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2019 PCCP HOT Articles