Diamondoid ether clusters in helium nanodroplets†
Diamondoid ethers were introduced into superfluid helium nanodroplets and the resulting clusters were analyzed by time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Clusters of higher abundances (magic number clusters) were identified and the corresponding potential cluster geometries were obtained from GFN2-xTB and DFT computations. We found that the studied diamondoid ethers readily self-assemble in helium nanodroplets and that London dispersion attraction between hydrocarbon subunits acts as a driving force for cluster formation. On the other hand, hydrogen bonding between ether oxygens and trace water molecules fosters the eventual breakdown of the initial supramolecular aggregate.