Emergent Relativistic Effects in Condensed Matter
From Fundamental Aspects to Electronic Functionality

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16.11.2021

Nanoscale pi-conjugated ladders


S.A. Meißner, T. Eder, T.J. Keller, D.A. Hofmeister, S. Spicher, S.-S. Jester, J. Vogelsang, S. Grimme, J.M. Lupton, S. Höger

Nature Communications

It is challenging to increase the rigidity of a macromolecule while maintaining solubility. Established strategies rely on templating by dendrons, or by encapsulation in macrocycles, and exploit supramolecular arrangements with limited robustness. Covalently bonded structures have entailed intramolecular coupling of units to resemble the structure of an alternating tread ladder with rungs composed of a covalent bond. We introduce a versatile concept of rigidification in which two rigid-rod polymer chains are repeatedly covalently associated along their contour by stiff molecular connectors. This approach yields almost perfect ladder structures with two well-defined π-conjugated rails and discretely spaced nanoscale rungs, easily visualized by scanning tunnelling microscopy. The enhancement of molecular rigidity is confirmed by the fluorescence depolarization dynamics and complemented by molecular-dynamics simulations. The covalent templating of the rods leads to self-rigidification that gives rise to intramolecular electronic coupling, enhancing excitonic coherence. The molecules are characterized by unprecedented excitonic mobility, giving rise to excitonic interactions on length scales exceeding 100 nm. Such interactions lead to deterministic single-photon emission from these giant rigid macromolecules, with potential implications for energy conversion in optoelectronic devices.

 

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-26688-9

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