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Average Orientation of a Molecular Rotor Embedded in a Langmuir–Blodgett Monolayer

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journal contribution
posted on 17.01.2012, 00:00 by Deborah L. Casher, Lukáš Kobr, Josef Michl
A molecular rotor in which a naphthalene rotator is attached through a silicon atom to three fatty acid chains has been synthesized, and Langmuir–Blodgett techniques were used to deposit on silica surfaces monolayers of its calcium salt, both neat and diluted with stearic acid salts. The monolayer films have been characterized by ellipsometry and Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) grazing-incidence attenuated total internal reflection (GATR) spectroscopy on Si-SiO2 and by UV–vis absorption spectroscopy on SiO2. The measurements were combined with calculations of the electronic (INDO/S) and vibrational (DFT) transition moment directions to deduce the average orientation of the rotor molecules, including the naphthalene ring, relative to the surface. In both neat and mixed films, the naphthalene ring is found to preferentially tilt toward the surface, enough that its rotation is most likely hindered. A comparable picture was obtained from molecular mechanics calculations on a mixed film of the naphthalene rotor and stearic acid.