Angewandte Chemie - International Edition

Crystallization of a Two-Dimensional Hydrogen-Bonded Molecular Assembly: Evolution of the Local Structure Resolved by Atomic Force Microscopy

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Structures of the aromatic N-heterocyclic hexaazatriphenylene (HAT) molecular synthon obtained by surface-assisted self-assembly were analyzed with sub-Å resolution by means of noncontact atomic force microscopy (nc-AFM), both in the kinetically trapped amorphous state and in the thermodynamically stable crystalline phase. These results reveal how the crystallization governs the length scale of the network order for non-flexible molecular species without affecting the local bonding schemes. The capability of nc-AFM to accurately resolve structural relaxations will be highly relevant for the characterization of vitreous two-dimensional supramolecular materials.