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The incorporation of designed self-assembled supramolecular structures into devices requires deposition onto surfaces with retention of both structure and function. This remains a challenge and can present a significant barrier to developing devices using self-organizing materials. To examine the role of peripheral groups in the self-organization of self-assembled multiporphyrinic arrays on surfaces, Pd(II)-linked square and Pt(II)-linked trapezoidal tetrameric porphyrin arrays with peripheral tenf-butylphenyl or dodecyl-oxyphenyl functionalities were investigated using various spectroscopies and atomic force microscopy. The Pd(II) assembled squares disassemble upon deposition on glass surfaces, while the Pt(II) assembled trapezoids are more robust and can be routinely cast on these surfaces. The orientation and length of the peripheral alkyl substituents influence the resultant structures on surfaces. The tert-butylphenyl-substituted porphyrin array forms discrete columnar stacks, which assemble in a vertical direction via π-stacking interactions among the macrocycles. The tetrameric porphyrin array with dodecyloxyphenyl groups forms a continuous film via van der Waals interactions among the peripheral hydrocarbon chains. The super-molecules with liquid crystal-forming moieties also form three-dimensional crystalline structures at higher deposition concentrations. These observations clearly demonstrate that the number, position, and nature of the peripheral groups and the supramolecular structure and dynamics, as well as the energetics of interactions with the surface, are of key importance to the two-dimensional and three-dimensional self-organization of assemblies such as porphyrin arrays on surfaces.

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