Orientational order of molecular assemblies on inorganic crystals


Saville, D. A. ; Chun, J. ; Li, J. L. ; Schniepp, H. C. ; Car, R. ; Aksay, I. A. Orientational order of molecular assemblies on inorganic crystals. Physical Review Letters 2006, 96.

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Surfactant micelles form oriented arrays on crystalline substrates although registration is unexpected since the template unit cell is small compared to the size of a rodlike micelle. Interaction energy calculations based on molecular simulations reveal that orientational energy differences on a molecular scale are too small to explain matters. With atomic force microscopy, we show that orientational ordering is a dynamic, multimolecule process. Treating the cooperative processes as a balance between van der Waals torque on a large, rodlike micellar assembly and Brownian motion shows that orientation is favored.