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In Situ Imaging of On-Surface, Solvent-Free Molecular Single-Crystal Growth
2015-04-07 15:30  

State Key Laboratory of Crystal Materials,Shandong University, Jinan, Shandong 250100,P. R. China

§Bruker (Beijing) Scientific Technology Co., Ltd., Beijing 100081,P. R. China

Institute of Physics,Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190,P. R. China

#Department of Materials Science and Engineering,The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721,United States

J. Am. Chem. Soc.,2015,137(15), pp 4972–4975 


Publication Date (Web): April 7, 2015 

Copyright © 2015 American Chemical Society 


AFM peak force error images from Movie S3 show the migration of [Ni(qt)2] NPs before crystallization. The trajectory of NPs’ migration is indicated by yellow arrows, and the remarkable changed regions on the film are highlighted by dashed circles. Film thickness, ∼30 nm; annealing temperature, 130 °C.


The formation of crystalline materials has been studied for more than a century. Recent discoveries about the self-assembly of many inorganic materials, involving aggregation of nanoparticle (NP) precursors or pre-nucleation clusters, challenge the simple assumptions of classical crystallization theory. The situation for organic materials is even more of a terra incognita due to their high complexity. Using in situ high-temperature atomic force microscopy during the solvent-free crystallization of an organic compound [Ni(quinolone-8-thiolate)2], we observe long-range migration of NPs on a silica substrate and their incorporation into larger crystals, suggesting a non-classical pathway in the growth of the molecular crystal.

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