Surface and Interface Molecular Science

Surface and Interface Molecular Science

Surface and Interface Molecular Science & Surface and Interface Intelligent Matter (SINIM) is the cutting edge interdisciplinary research that could advance the frontiers of chemistry, physics, material science and biology.Its research centers on the physics and chemistry of surface/interface as well as the intelligent response therein through the utilization of unique and state-of-the-art surface/interface technologies.Among others, surface and interface physical chemistry emphasizes on the emerging frontiers including “on-surface chemistry”, surface supramolecular chemistry and scanning probe microscopy, etc., focusing on the fundamental science such as the assembly, reaction and the construction of new molecules. By means of advanced tools such as atomic force microscopy (AFM) and scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and the combination with other methodologies, we are going to reveal the surface ensembles, structures, properties of the functional materials at the atomic or molecular level, which leads to the novel intelligent matter systems. The research on intelligent interfaces concentrates on the structured functional interfaces, responsive surface/interfaces and smart sensing devices/systems, aiming to achieve the on-demand intelligent matter with precision preparation and property regulation for multi-functional sensing and intelligent perception.

1. On-surface chemistry

On-surface chemistry, as an emerging synthetic method, is utilized to prepare covalently linked organic nanomaterials with structural control in atomic precision by on-surface reactions of molecular precursors. It has received extensive attention in the fields of surface science, synthetic chemistry, and surface catalysis.Based on the understanding of the reactions on single-crystal surfaces, we are devoted to exploring new types of on-surface reactions and the in-depth understanding of the surface’s role in tuning the mechanism, the progression, and the various stages of the reactions, as well as the structural modulation of the product. Special attention will be paid to the systematic characterization of the electronic structure and catalytic activity of carbon-based functional materials. Through the development and improvement of the characterization techniques, we expect to gain new knowledge of on-surface reactions at extremely high spatial and energetic resolution levels.

2. Supramolecular chemistry on surfaces

The research of supramolecular chemistry on surfaces focuses on the basic issues of supramolecular chemistry, such as the assembly of molecular aggregates through non-covalent interactions, host-guest recognition, and the construction of multilevel complex structures.The aim is not limited to the research of fundamental phenomena related to the supramolecules through structural characterization. It also targets the preparation and property modulation of two-dimensional supramolecular materials with tunable functions. The structure-property relationship of long-range ordered supramolecular organizations from microscopic to mesoscopic scales is the key aspect, which holds the promises to the further construction of structural low-temperature materials with ultrafast response for intelligent sensing and catalysis applications.

3. Scanning probe microscopy

High-resolution imaging and spectroscopy of scanning probe microscopy are used to investigate the physical and chemical processes of molecules on surfaces, enabling the characterization of the mechanisms and progressions of on-surface reactions at high spatial (single bond level) and high energy resolution. Research in this area is conducive to solving key challenges in the mass preparation of functional materials, industrial catalysis, and related fields. This research direction is dedicated to the development of high-resolution imaging and spectroscopy techniques of multi-environmntal systems that can be applied for in-situ preparation and characterization of smart materials.

4. Structured functional surface and interface

The main targets of structured functional surface and interface research are the assembly behavior, selected area growth, physical properties and device performance optimization of organic semiconductor molecules on structured surfaces.The purpose of these studies is to develop new technologies that match modern micro-patterning and device fabrication of the molecular materials, providing new insights and supporting technologies for the construction of organic semiconductors and molecular devices.

5. Responsive interfaces

Responsive interfaces rely on the systematic study of precise synthesis and assembly methods at the surface and interface, which facilitates the development of flexible, multi-functional and highly responsive surface and interface intelligent materials. By investigating the mechanisms, structure-activity relationship between the functional molecular units and macroscopic properties, the synergistic interactions between structural changes and smart responsive properties are established, which in turn lays the foundation for the precise synthesis and assembly of intelligent materials at surface and interfaces and paves the way toward their applications.

6. Intelligent sensing devices/systems

Based on the fabrication of smart materials and the modulation of physical/chemical properties at the surface and interface, we are dedicated to the development of highly sensitive devices and systems with smart responses and the construction of intelligent sensing systems, both of which have great potentials in industrial processes, environmental monitoring, healthcare and diagnosis, and electronic skin with biomimetic perceptions. By combining responsive materials based highly sensitive sensing devices, perceptual physical hardware components, machine learning and big data processing, we aim to build a digital intelligent system that is intelligently interconnected with information acquisition, data processing and feedback capabilities.

Editor: Danting Xiang