We use lateral nanoconfinement to access early stages of self-assembly by studying a host–guest system made up of 5-octadecyloxy-isophthalic acid and coronene inside nanometer thick, shallow nanocompartments created by carving out an organic layer covalently bound to the basal plane of highly oriented pyrolytic graphite using STM based nanolithography. The adsorption and self-assembly of the building blocks inside the nanocorrals coupled with the act of nanoshaving itself allowed us to observe liquid-like structures which represent the embryonic stages of network formation that are otherwise not captured in standard STM experiments.
Read more? Chem. Commun., 2022, 58, 3138-3141