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Evolution of multilevel order in supramolecular assemblies

F. Vonau, D. Suhr, D. Aubel, L. Bouteiller, G. Reiter and L. Simon. Phys. Rev. Lett. 94, 066103 (2005)


The process of self-assembly at multiple length scales of bis-urea substituted toluene on a Au(111) surface was studied by low temperature scanning tunneling microscopy. Pattern formation is controlled by specific hydrogen bonds between these molecules but also by significantly weaker lateral coupling between the resulting supramolecular polymers and a quasiepitaxial interlocking with the substrate. The ordered assemblies exhibit a tunnel transparency. Our experiments indicate the necessity of multiple interactions of different strengths for obtaining ordered structures with hierarchical levels of organization.

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