A Si(100) surface featuring molecular recognition properties was obtained by covalent functionalization with a tetraphosphonate cavitand (Tiiii), able to complex positively charged species. Tiiii cavitand was grafted onto the Si by photochemical hydrosilylation together with 1-octene as a spatial spectator. The recognition properties of the Si-Tiiii surface were demonstrated through two independent analytical techniques, namely XPS and fluorescencespectroscopy, during the course of reversible complexation−guest exchange−decomplexationcycles with specifically designed ammonium and pyridinium salts. Control experiments employinga Si(100) surface functionalized with a structurally similar, but complexation inactive,tetrathiophosphonate cavitand (TSiiii) demonstrated no recognition events. This provides evidence for the complexation properties of the Si-Tiiii surface, ruling out the possibility of nonspecific interactions between the substrate and the guests. The residual Si−O− terminations on the surface replace the guests’ original counterions, thus stabilizing the complex ion pairs. These results represent a further step toward the control of self-assembly of complex supramolecular architectures on surfaces.
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