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J Chem Phys. 2017 Aug 7;147(5):054905. doi: 10.1063/1.4993210.

Block copolymer templated self-assembly of disk-shaped molecules.

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Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


Stacking of disk-shaped organic molecules is a promising strategy to develop electronic and photovoltaic devices. Here, we investigate the capability of a soft block copolymer matrix that microphase separates into a cylindrical phase to direct the self-assembly of disk-shaped molecules by means of molecular simulations. We show that two disk molecules confined in the cylinder domain experience a depletion force, induced by the polymer chains, which results in the formation of stacks of disks. This entropic interaction and the soft confinement provided by the matrix are both responsible for the structures that can be self-assembled, which include slanted or columnar stacks. In addition, we evidence the transmission of stresses between the different minority domains of the microphase, which results in the establishment of a long-ranged interaction between disk molecules embedded in different domains; this interaction is of the order of the microphase periodicity and may be exploited to direct assembly of disks at larger scales.


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