In the Zernike Institute Advent Calendar, we are presenting 24 short spotlights in December. In these specials, we highlight PhD students, postdocs, support staff and technicians of our research groups and team - providing a glimpse in their typical day at work. In Episode 3 meet Melina Vavali, PhD student in the Surfaces and Thin Films group of Prof. Petra Rudolf.
I am a PhD student researcher working for the Surfaces and Thin Films group at the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials. My Phd project is a double degree doctorate project between Sorbonne Université (under the supervision of Dr. Imad Arfaoui) and University of Groningen under the supervision of Prof.Dr.Petra Rudolf.
In essence what we are doing is playing lego with molecules. More particularly, we are using the basic principles of supramolecular chemistry in order to create 3D nano-structures on a surface. Supramolecular chemistry at surfaces focuses on understanding the molecular interactions and self-assembly of molecules on solid substrates. This field appears promising for the creation of functionalized surfaces for applications in optoelectronic devices.
This study explores transferring of a supramolecular arrangement from a solution to a solid surface. In other words, if we know how certain molecules orient with each other creating molecular building blocks in solution, does that mean that we will end up with the same arrangements when that solution is deposited onto a surface such as graphene? And if we do not end up with the same arrangement can we force each peace of the molecular building block to orient the way they do in solution, but this time on a surface?
We employ supramolecular chemistry principles to create dyads with pedestals (zinc phthalocyanine (ZnPc) and zinc phenyloporphyrine (ZnPP)), linkers (pyridyl groups), and fluorescent molecules (perylene diimide derivatives (PDI). We are advancing the application of supramolecular Chemistry principles for device manufacturing by enabling the fabrication of ordered arrays of molecules which preserve their optical/electronic properties.
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