Multiscale Modeling Strategy of 2D Covalent Organic Frameworks Confined at an Air–Water Interface


Two-dimensional covalent organic frameworks (2D COFs) have attracted attention as versatile active materials in many applications. Recent advances have demonstrated the synthesis of monolayer 2D COF via an air–water interface. However, the interfacial 2D polymerization mechanism has been elusive. In this work, we have used a multiscale modeling strategy to study dimethylmethylene-bridged triphenylamine building blocks confined at the air–water interface to form a 2D COF via Schiff-base reaction. A synergy between the computational investigations and experiments allowed the synthesis of a 2D-COF with one of the linkers considered. Our simulations complement the experimental characterization and show the preference of the building blocks to be at the interface with a favorable orientation for the polymerization. The air–water interface is shown to be a key factor to stabilize a flat conformation when a dimer molecule is considered. The structural and electronic properties of the monolayer COFs based on the two monomers are calculated and show a semiconducting nature with direct bandgaps. Our strategy provides a first step toward the in silico polymerization of 2D COFs at air–water interfaces capturing the initial steps of the synthesis up to the prediction of electronic properties of the 2D material.
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