Hierarchical two-dimensional molecular assembly through dynamic combination of conformational states at the liquid/solid interface†
Self-sorting of multiple building blocks for correctly positioning molecules through orthogonal recognition is a promising strategy for construction of a hierarchical self-assembled molecular network (SAMN) on a surface. Herein we report that a trigonal molecule, dehydrobenzoannulene (DBA) derivative having three tetradecyloxy chains and three hydroxy groups in an alternating manner, forms hierarchical triangular clusters of different sizes ranging from 2.4 to 16.4 nm, consisting of 3 to 78 molecules, respectively, at the liquid/graphite interface. The key is the dynamic combination of three different conformational states, which is solvent and concentration dependent. The present knowledge extends design strategies for production of sophisticated hierarchical SAMNs using a single component at the liquid/solid interface.