We report the first compared study of the anchoring mode of calixarene derivatives and pseudorotaxanes on Si(100) and polycrystalline Cu. Calixarenes have been chosen for their flexibility as linkers, being, i.a., efficient building blocks for the constructing of molecular devices based on pseudorotaxanes and rotaxanes. A covalent functionalization on Si or Cu surfaces requires the molecules to be differently modified: thiol (−SH) or C=C terminations are respectively suitable for Cu or H-Si(100). Anchoring on Cu was reached by dipping a clean substrate in a calixarene-SH solution, while a wet-chemistry recipe was followed for Si(100), combined with an extra-mild photochemical activation via visible light. Molecular adhesion onto either surfaces has been demonstrated by the presence of XPS signals from specific elements in the molecules: calixarene designed for H-Si were derivatized with NO2 groups on the upper rim of the calix, while the S atom was used as the molecular identifier on Cu. A further extension is represented by the anchoring reaction of rotaxanes on Si(100) and Cu surfaces. A pseudorotaxane species was first formed in solution by reacting a calixarene "wheel," bearing three N-phenylureido groups on the upper rim, with viologen (4,4′-bipyridinium) containing axle. The resulting species has then been anchored on either Cu and Si via its distinct termination of the axle. This two-step reaction has produced a threaded pseudorotaxane covalently bound to either surfaces, as shown by XPS results. These species are ready to respond to external stimuli. We also cross-checked the two different anchoring groups for their reactivity on Cu and Si surfaces. No molecular uptake was observed when two solutions, containing calixarenes with the anchoring arms intended either for Si or Cu surfaces, were exchanged.
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