Molecular self-assembly refers to the spontaneous assembly of molecules into larger structures. In order to exploit molecular self-assembly for the bottom-up synthesis of nanomaterials, the effects of chemical control (strength of the directionality in the intermolecular interaction) and entropic control (temperature) on the self-assembly process should be clarified. Here we present a theoretical methodology that unambiguously distinguishes the effects of chemical and entropic control on the self-assembly of molecules adsorbed to metal surfaces. While chemical control simply increases the formation probability of ordered structures, entropic control induces a variety of effects. These effects range from fine structure modulation of ordered structures, through to degrading large, amorphous structures into short, chain-shaped structures. Counterintuitively, the latter effect shows that entropic control can improve molecular ordering. By identifying appropriate levels of chemical and entropic control, our methodology can, therefore, identify strategies for optimizing the yield of desired nanostructures from the molecular self-assembly process.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)