Modulating vectored non-covalent interactions for layered assembly with engineerable properties

Jiahao Zhang, Sarah Guerin, Haoran Wu, Bin Xue*, Yi Cao, Syed A.M. Tofail, Yancheng Wang, Damien Thompson*, Wei Wang, Kai Tao*, Deqing Mei, Ehud Gazit

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Abstract: Vectored non-covalent interactions—mainly hydrogen bonding and aromatic interactions—extensively contribute to (bio)-organic self-assembling processes and significantly impact the physicochemical properties of the associated superstructures. However, vectored non-covalent interaction-driven assembly occurs mainly along one-dimensional (1D) or three-dimensional (3D) directions, and a two-dimensional (2D) orientation, especially that of multilayered, graphene-like assembly, has been reported less. In this present research, by introducing amino, hydroxyl, and phenyl moieties to the triazine skeleton, supramolecular layered assembly is achieved by vectored non-covalent interactions. The planar hydrogen bonding network results in high stability, with a thermal sustainability of up to about 330 °C and a Young’s modulus of up to about 40 GPa. Upon introducing wrinkles by biased hydrogen bonding or aromatic interactions to disturb the planar organization, the stability attenuates. However, the intertwined aromatic interactions prompt a red edge excitation shift effect inside the assemblies, inducing broad-spectrum fluorescence covering nearly the entire visible light region (400–650 nm). We show that bionic, superhydrophobic, pillar-like arrays with contact angles of up to about 170° can be engineered by aromatic interactions using a physical vapor deposition approach, which cannot be realized through hydrogen bonding. Our findings show the feasibility of 2D assembly with engineerable properties by modulating vectored non-covalent interactions. Graphic abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)529-539
Number of pages11
JournalBio-Design and Manufacturing
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2022


FundersFunder number
Science Foundation Ireland12/RC/2275_P2, 15/CDA/3491
National Natural Science Foundation of China52075484, 51821093, 52175551
National Key Research and Development Program of ChinaSQ2021YFE010405
Irish Centre for High-End Computing


    • Engineerable properties
    • Layered assembly
    • Physical vapor deposition
    • Supramolecular graphene
    • Vectored non-covalent interactions


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