In situ formation of H-bonding imidazole chains in break-junction experiments

Wu, C. and Alqahtani, A. and Sangtarash, S. and Vezzoli, A. and Sadeghi, H. and Robertson, Craig M. and Cai, C. and Lambert, C.J. and Higgins, S.J. and Nichols, R.J. (2020) In situ formation of H-bonding imidazole chains in break-junction experiments. Nanoscale, 12 (14). pp. 7914-7920. ISSN 2040-3364

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As a small molecule possessing both strong H-bond donor and acceptor functions, 1H-imidazole can participate in extensive homo- or heteromolecular H-bonding networks. These properties are important in Nature, as imidazole moieties are incorporated in many biologically-relevant compounds. Imidazole also finds applications ranging from corrosion inhibition to fire retardants and photography. We have found a peculiar behaviour of imidazole during scanning tunnelling microscopy-break junction (STM-BJ) experiments, in which oligomeric chains connect the two electrodes and allow efficient charge transport. We attributed this behaviour to the formation of hydrogen-bonding networks, as no evidence of such behaviour was found in 1-methylimidazole (incapable of participating in intramolecular hydrogen bonding). The results are supported by DFT calculations, which confirmed our hypothesis. These findings pave the road to the use of hydrogen-bonding networks for the fabrication of dynamic junctions based on supramolecular interactions. © The Royal Society of Chemistry .

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01 May 2020 10:20
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22 Nov 2022 09:01