Electrostatically Driven Guest Binding in a Self-Assembled Porous Network at the Liquid/Solid Interface

Kohei Iritani, Motoki Ikeda, Anna Yang, Kazukuni Tahara, Masaru Anzai, Keiji Hirose, Steven De Feyter, Jeffrey S. Moore, Yoshito Tobe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present here the construction of a self-assembled two-dimensional (2D) porous monolayer bearing a highly polar 2D space to study guest co-adsorption through electrostatic interactions at the liquid/solid interface. For this purpose, a dehydrobenzo[12]annulene (DBA) derivative, DBA-TeEG, having tetraethylene glycol (TeEG) groups at the end of the three alternating alkoxy chains connected by p-phenylene linkers was synthesized. As a reference host molecule, DBA-C10, having nonpolar C10 alkyl chains at three alternating terminals, was employed. As guest molecules, hexagonal phenylene-ethynylene macrocycles (PEMs) attached by triethylene glycol (TEG) ester and hexyl ester groups, PEM-TEG and PEM-C6, respectively, at each vertex of the macrocyclic periphery were used. Scanning tunneling microscopy observations at the 1,2,4-trichlorobenzene/highly oriented pyrolytic graphite interface revealed that PEM-TEG was immobilized in the pores formed by DBA-TeEG at higher probability because of electrostatic interactions such as dipole-dipole and hydrogen bonding interactions between oligoether units of the host and guest, in comparison to PEM-C6 with nonpolar groups. These observations are discussed based on molecular mechanics simulations to investigate the role of the polar functional groups. When a nonpolar host matrix formed by DBA-C10 was used, however, only phase separation and preferential adsorption were observed; virtually no host-guest complexation was discernible. This is ascribed to the strong affinity between the guest molecules which form by themselves densely packed van der Waals networks on the surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6036-6045
Number of pages10
Issue number21
StatePublished - May 29 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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