Electrochemically controlled self-assembled monolayers characterized with molecular and sub-molecular resolution

Jingdong Zhang, Anna Christina Welinder, Qijin Chi, Jens Ulstrup

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Self-assembled organization of functional molecules on solid surfaces has developed into a powerful and sophisticated tool for surface chemistry and nanotechnology. A number of reviews on the topic have been available since the mid 1990s. This perspective article aims to focus on recent development in the investigations of electronic structures and assembling dynamics of electrochemically controlled self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) of thiol containing molecules on gold surfaces. A brief introduction is first given and particularly illustrated by a Table summarizing the molecules studied, the surface lattice structures and the experimental operating conditions. This is followed by discussion of two major high-resolution experimental methods, scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) and single-crystal electrochemistry. In Section 3, we briefly address choice of supporting electrolytes and substrate surfaces, and their effects on the SAM structures. Section 4 constitutes the major body of the article by offering some details of recent studies for the selected cases, including in situ monitoring of assembling dynamics, molecular electronic structures, and the key external factors determining the SAM packing. In Section 5, we give examples of what can be offered by theoretical computations for the detailed understanding of the SAM electronic structures revealed by STM images. A brief summary of the current applications of SAMs in wiring metalloproteins, design and fabrication of sensors, and single-molecule electronics is described in Section 6. In the final two sections (7 and 8), we discuss the current status in understanding of electronic structures and properties of SAMs in electrochemical environments and what could be expected for future perspectives.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Issue number13
Pages (from-to)5526-5545
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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