W. de Poel, S. Pintea, A. de Jong, J. Drnec, F. Carlà, R. Felici, H. op den Camp, J. A.A.W. Elemans, W. J.P. van Enckevort, A. E. Rowan, E. Vlieg
Langmuir, 42, 30(2014), pp 12570–12577
Publication year: 2014

Stable layers of crown ethers were grown on muscovite mica using the potassium–crown ether interaction. The multilayers were grown from solution and from the vapor phase and were analyzed with atomic force microscopy (AFM), matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry, and surface X-ray diffraction (SXRD). The results show that the first molecular layer of the three investigated dibenzo crown ethers is more rigid than the second because of the strong interaction of the first molecular layer with the potassium ions on the surface of muscovite mica. SXRD measurements revealed that for all of the investigated dibenzo crown ethers the first molecule lies relatively flat whereas the second lies more upright. The SXRD measurements further revealed that the molecules of the first layer of dibenzo-15-crown-5 are on top of a potassium atom, showing that the binding mechanism of this layer is indeed of the coordination complex form. The AFM and SXRD data are in good agreement, and the combination of these techniques is therefore a powerful way to determine the molecular orientation at surfaces.