Recently, Prof. Shern-Long Lee’s group at IAS from Shenzhen University has published a paper in Chem. Commun. (IF: 6.2) and the paper’s title is Electric-field-induced supramolecular phase transitions at the liquid/solid interface: Cat-assembly from solvent additives.
The main advance in this research is that Prof. Lee’s group found by the scanning tunneling microscope (STM) that the electric field induced supramolecular phase transition can be controlled in both qualitative and quantitative fashions. The results are expressed by thermodynamic Gibbs free energy. Briefly, the electrically triggered phase transformations of trimesic acid can be efficiently promoted to occur under an environment where trace highly polar solvent additive is present at the liquid/solid interface as revealed by STM. The calculated Gibbs energy plots represent the potential energy profiles for the deprotonation reaction of TMA by low and high polar solvents which is related to the phase transition.
The experiment and calculation of this article were completed by Xingming Zeng, a master student, and Ayyaz Mahmood, a postdoctoral researcher. Prof. Shern-Long Lee was the only corresponding author. The research was supported by NSFC general program (NSFC 21972095).
Paper link: https://doi.org/10.1039/D0CC01670E
Fig 1: target molecules and the additives in the present study
Fig 2: STM results: the delay time histogram from the use of different additives
Fig 3: the STM results are expressed by thermodynamic Gibbs free energy