Host-Guest Assemblies for Functional Interfaces via Langmuir-Blodgett and Self-Assembly Technique


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Virginia Tech


Various technologies depend on interfacial events that are influenced by various molecular interactions at a solid-liquid interface. The functionality of a surface plays an important role in many applications such as catalysis, sensing, and bio-compatibility, which can benefit from distinctive chemical and physical surface properties. To create tailor-made functional surfaces, surface host-guest assemblies based on Langmuir-Blodgett and self-assembly technique have been employed as a model system as they may offer the potential ability to regenerate surface properties via intercalation of various functional guest molecules. This thesis ranges over the development and characterization of host-guest assemblies and their feasibilities for the regeneration of surface properties via intercalation of functional guests. In our work, 3-dimensional host structures with cavities are constructed on a targeted solid substrate using Langmuir-Blodgett and self-assembly techniques. In particular, by adopting the fundamental concept of host-guest interaction in supramolecular chemistry, we expect that structurally homologous guest molecules where functional groups are anchored can be intercalated into the cavities between hydrophobe arrays at the liquid-solid interface from solution under well-controlled conditions. This approach offers the potential of separating the functional of the monolayer from the inherent structure of the host.

The first part of this thesis details two-dimensional host-guest assemblies consisting of guanidinium (G), octadecylsulfonate (S) and various functional alkane guests at the air-aqueous interface and following deposition onto solid substrates via the Langmuir-Blodgett technique. In particular, we evaluated the stability of the host-guest assemblies and the feasibility of exchanging molecular guests under exposure to various organic solvent environments. Analysis of X-ray reflectivity measurements of the thin films showed that good stability of the host-guest assembly could not be achieved due to weak interactions between the host monoalyer and the solid surface. In addition, no evidence of intercalation of guest molecules into guest-free host-cavities was observed.

The second part of this thesis discusses the effective methodologies to prepare low-density self-assembled monolayers (LDSAMs) with cavities on silicon substrates. We employed a step-wise reaction based on hydrolytic or silane chemistry: integral spacer molecules such as anthracene-derivatives were anchored to the Si substrate and then long alkane chains were appended to the spacer molecules. The results showed that LDSAMs using an anthryl spacer are attached at the SAM/Si interface via a Si-O-C linkage, and the films do not exhibit a densely packed monolayer quality as would be expected for a non-sterically hindered alkyltrichlorosilane on Si. Thus, the resulting LDSAMs (with cavities) may be capable of accommodating other guest molecules with hydrocarbon chains through intercalation in order to form host-guest assemblies.

The third part of this thesis demonstrates the ability of LDSAMs to produce functional surfaces via the intercalation of various functional guest molecules. Self-assembled monolayers of (10-octadecyl)-9-anthracenethiol (host-SAMs) on Au substrates were prepared. Quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation (QCM-D) measurements was used to demonstrate the capacity of LDSAMs to confine guest molecules in the cavities and to probe the structural changes of the host-guest assembly during guest intercalation from ethanol solution. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) measurements were then used to probe host-guest monolayers formed by immersing the host monolayer in solutions in a variety of other solvents. A combined study of QCM-D and XPS showed that guest molecules were intercalated into host-cavities. The reversibility of the intercalation process allows a guest already situated in a host-cavity to be replaced with second guest under well-regulated solvent conditions.



Functional interfaces, organic molecular monolayer, Langmuir-Blodgett, self-assembly, low-density self-assembled monolayer, host-guest assemblies