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Added Alkane Allows Thermal Thinning of Supramolecular Columns by Forming SuperlatticeAn X‑ray and Neutron Study

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journal contribution
posted on 22.04.2016 by Ming-Huei Yen, Jitrin Chaiprapa, Xiangbing Zeng, Yongsong Liu, Liliana Cseh, Georg H. Mehl, Goran Ungar
We report a columnar superlattice formed by blends of dendron-like Li 3,4,5-tris­(n-alkoxy)­benzoates with n-alkanes. Without the alkane, the wedge-shaped molecules form liquid crystal columns with 3 dendrons in a supramolecular disk. The same structure exists in the blend, but on heating one dendron is expelled from the disks in every third column and is replaced by the alkane. This superlattice of unequal columns is confirmed by complementary X-ray and neutron diffraction studies. Lateral thermal expansion of dendrons normally leads to the expulsion of excess molecules from the column, reducing the column diameter. However, in the already narrow columns of pure Li salt, expulsion of one of only three dendrons in a disk is not viable. The added alkane facilitates the expulsion, as it replaces the missing dendron. Replacing the alkane with a functional compound can potentially lead to active nanoarrays with relatively large periodicity by using only small molecules.