Multistep nucleation and growth mechanisms of organic crystals from amorphous solid states

Hongliang Chen, Mingliang Li, Zheyu Lu, Xiaoge Wang, Junsheng Yang, Zhe Wang, Fei Zhang, Chunhui Gu, Weining Zhang, Yujie Sun, Junliang Sun, Wenguang Zhu, Xuefeng Guo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Molecular self-assembly into crystallised films or wires on surfaces produces a big family of motifs exhibiting unique optoelectronic properties. However, little attention has been paid to the fundamental mechanism of molecular crystallisation. Here we report a biomimetic design of phosphonate engineered, amphiphilic organic semiconductors capable of self–assembly, which enables us to use real-time in-situ scanning probe microscopy to monitor the growth trajectories of such organic semiconducting films as they nucleate and crystallise from amorphous solid states. The single-crystal film grows through an evolutionary selection approach in a two-dimensional geometry, with five distinct steps: droplet flattening, film coalescence, spinodal decomposition, Ostwald ripening, and self-reorganised layer growth. These sophisticated processes afford ultralong high-density microwire arrays with high mobilities, thus promoting deep understanding of the mechanism as well as offering important insights into the design and development of functional high-performance organic optoelectronic materials and devices through molecular and crystal engineering.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3872
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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