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J Phys Chem B. 2008 Feb 21;112(7):1940-5. doi: 10.1021/jp710476k. Epub 2008 Jan 30.

Nonlinear optical and structural properties of langmuir-blodgett films of thiohelicenebisquinones.

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  • 1Institute of Physics, Tampere University of Technology, Tampere, Finland.


We provide a detailed investigation of the second-order nonlinear optical and structural properties of Langmuir-Blodgett (LB) films of nonracemic thiohelicenebisquinone (THBQ). We prepare both X- and Y-type films of different thicknesses and characterize them using optical second-harmonic generation and atomic-force microscopy (AFM). We find that the overall nonlinear properties of the samples are essentially independent of the film thickness and the deposition type and arise from susceptibility tensor components associated with chirality. Both X- and Y-type films can be described by D2 symmetry, which is a higher symmetry than the previously assumed C2 of LB films of THBQ and a similar helicenebisquinone (HBQ). However, the two types of films are shown to differ significantly with respect to the orientation of the in-plane axis. For Y type, the axis follows the direction of vertical sample deposition, but for X type, the direction of the axis varies randomly and significantly between different samples. The Y-type samples are therefore more ordered than the X-type samples. This was confirmed by AFM measurements in which the Y type exhibits uniform ordering into columnar structures. Similar structures in X type, on the other hand, are shorter and more randomly oriented, like those earlier observed for racemic samples of HBQ [Verbiest, T., et al. Science 1998, 282, 913]. The common nonlinear properties and different high-level ordering observed here for two different types of nonracemic samples reinforces that the nonlinearity of THBQ (and probably HBQ, as well) originates from the low-level columnar aggregation of the molecules with the higher-level structures playing a lesser role. In addition, within the columns, the molecules likely assume fairly random azimuthal orientations so that the columns themselves exhibit approximate Dinfinity symmetry.

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