Avoiding the Center-Symmetry Trap: Programmed Assembly of Dipolar Precursors into Porous, Crystalline Molecular Thin Films

Alexei Nefedov, Ritesh Haldar, Zhiyun Xu, Hannes Kühner, Dennis Hofmann, David Goll, Benedikt Sapotta, Stefan Hecht, Marjan Krstić, Carsten Rockstuhl, Wolfgang Wenzel, Stefan Bräse, Petra Tegeder, Egbert Zojer, Christof Wöll*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Liquid-phase, quasi-epitaxial growth is used to stack asymmetric, dipolar organic compounds on inorganic substrates, permitting porous, crystalline molecular materials that lack inversion symmetry. This allows material fabrication with built-in electric fields. A new programmed assembly strategy based on metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) is described that facilitates crystalline, noncentrosymmetric space groups for achiral compounds. Electric fields are integrated into crystalline, porous thin films with an orientation normal to the substrate. Changes in electrostatic potential are detected via core-level shifts of marker atoms on the MOF thin films and agree with theoretical results. The integration of built-in electric fields into organic, crystalline, and porous materials creates possibilities for band structure engineering to control the alignment of electronic levels in organic molecules. Built-in electric fields may also be used to tune the transfer of charges from donors loaded via programmed assembly into MOF pores. Applications include organic electronics, photonics, and nonlinear optics, since the absence of inversion symmetry results in a clear second-harmonic generation signal.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2103287
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number35
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2021


  • electrostatic design
  • metal–organic frameworks
  • second-harmonic generation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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