Molecular dynamics simulations of ordered alkane chains physisorbed on graphite

Hentschke, Reinhard; Schürmann, Britta L.; Rabe, Jürgen P.
April 1992
Journal of Chemical Physics;4/15/1992, Vol. 96 Issue 8, p6213
Academic Journal
Scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) studies at the interface between the basal plane of graphite and organic solutions or melts of long chain alkanes and alkyl derivatives reveal that the molecules order in lamellae with the main molecular axes oriented parallel to the substrate. Here we employ molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to obtain more details on the molecular order and dynamics within the alkane lamellae as a function of density. We find that the orientation of the molecular carbon zigzag planes relative to the graphite is governed by a subtle interplay of packing and entropic effects. In addition, we consider multiple layer adsorption and investigate the rapid loss of order with increasing distance from the interface. Finally, we study the diffusive behavior of an isolated long chain alkane, C350H702, on graphite, which is of interest in the context of STM imaging of isolated macromolecules at interfaces. The sensitive dependence on atomic parameters renders MD simulations a valuable complementary tool for the detailed interpretation of STM data.


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