Self-assembled organic nanostructures: Effect of substituents on the morphology

Wei Su, Yuexing Zhang, Chuntao Zhao, Xiyou Li*, Jianzhuang Jiang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Three perylene-3,4;9,10-tetracarboxydiimide (PTCDI) compounds with two dodecyloxy or thiododecyl chains attached at the bay positions of the perylene ring, PTCDIs 1-3, were fabricated into nanoassemblies by a solution injection method. The morphologies of these self-assembled nanostructures were determined by transmission electronic microscopy (TEM), scanning electronic microscopy (SEM), and atomic force microscopy (AFM). PTCDI compound 1, with two dodecyloxy groups, forms long, flexible nanowires with an aspect ratio of over 200, white analogue 3, with two thiododecyl groups, self-assembles into spherical particles. In line with these results, PTCDI 2, with one dodecyloxy group and one thiododecyl group, forms nanorods with an aspect ratio of around 20. Electronic absorption and fluorescence spectroscopy results reveal the formation of H-aggregates in the nanostructures of these PTCDI compounds owing to the π-π interaction between the substituted perylene molecules and also suggest a decreasing π-π interaction in the order 1>2>3, which corresponds well with the morphology of the corresponding nanoassemblies. On the basis of DFT calculations, the effect of different substituents at the bay positions of the perylene ring on the π-π interaction between substituted perykne molecules and the morphology of self-assembled nanostructures is rationalized by the differing degree of twisting of the conjugated perykne system caused by the different substituents and the different bending of the alkoxy and thioalkyl groups with respect to the plane of the naphthalene.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1857-1862
Number of pages6
Issue number12
StatePublished - Aug 24 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Density functional calculations
  • Nanostructures
  • Self-assembly
  • Substituent effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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