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Fabrication of Supramolecular Chirality from Achiral Molecules at the Liquid/Liquid Interface Studied by Second Harmonic Generation

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journal contribution
posted on 15.12.2017, 00:00 by Lu Lin, Zhen Zhang, Yuan Guo, Minghua Liu
We present the investigation into the supramolecular chirality of 5-octadecyloxy-2-(2-pyridylazo)­phenol (PARC18) at water/1,2-dichloroethane interface by second harmonic generation (SHG). We observe that PARC18 molecules form supramolecular chirality through self-assembly at the liquid/liquid interface although they are achiral molecules. The bulk concentration of PARC18 in the organic phase has profound effects on the supramolecular chirality. By increasing bulk concentration, the enantiomeric excess at the interface first grows and then decreases until it eventually vanishes. Further analysis reveals that the enantiomeric excess is determined by the twist angle of PARC18 molecules at the interface rather than their orientational angle. At lower and higher bulk concentrations, the average twist angle of PARC18 molecules approaches zero, and the assemblies are achiral; whereas at medium bulk concentrations, the average twist angle is nonzero, so that the assemblies show supramolecular chirality. We also estimate the coverage of PARC18 molecules at the interface versus the bulk concentration and fit it to Langmuir adsorption model. The result indicates that PARC18 assemblies show strongest supramolecular chirality in a half-full monolayer. These findings highlight the opportunities for precise control of supramolecular chirality at liquid/liquid interfaces by manipulating the bulk concentration.