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In situ formation of H-bonding imidazole chains in break-junction experiments

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>14/04/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>Nanoscale
Issue number14
Volume12
Number of pages7
Pages (from-to)7914-7920
Publication statusPublished
Early online date31/03/20
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

As a small molecule possessing both strong H-bond donor and acceptor functions, 1H-imidazole can participate in extensive homo- or heteromolecular H-bonding networks. These properties are important in Nature, as imidazole moieties are incorporated in many biologically-relevant compounds. Imidazole also finds applications ranging from corrosion inhibition to fire retardants and photography. We have found a peculiar behaviour of imidazole during scanning tunnelling microscopy-break junction (STM-BJ) experiments, in which oligomeric chains connect the two electrodes and allow efficient charge transport. We attributed this behaviour to the formation of hydrogen-bonding networks, as no evidence of such behaviour was found in 1-methylimidazole (incapable of participating in intramolecular hydrogen bonding). The results are supported by DFT calculations, which confirmed our hypothesis. These findings pave the road to the use of hydrogen-bonding networks for the fabrication of dynamic junctions based on supramolecular interactions. © The Royal Society of Chemistry .