Computational studies of molecular self-assembly at surfaces: from rational design to function
PhD Thesis, 2016, Université de Strasbourg.
DOI:10.13140/RG.2.2.14446.41282 | Find on RG
Molecular self-assembly at surfaces is a prominent example of self-organization of matter with outstanding technological applications. The ability to predict the structure of the self-assembled monolayer (SAM) formed at equilibrium is of great fundamental and technological importance. In this dissertation I present a self-consistent theory for a first-principle interpretation of 2D self-assembly based on modeling and statistical thermodynamics. The developed framework provides access to the thermodynamic stability of the SAM and to its concentration dependence. This allows to study competitive equilibria at surfaces and to rationalize the 2D polymorphism evidenced by scanning probe techniques. The theory predicts the existence of a critical concentration of monomers, which is used to set an absolute scale for the 2D self-assembly propensity. Last, four technological applications are discussed, showing the potentials of the developed framework.