Scanning Tunneling Microscopic Observation of Adatom-Mediated Motifs on Gold-Thiol Self-assembled Monolayers at High Coverage

Yun Wang, Qijin Chi, Noel S. Hush, Jeffrey R. Reimers, Jingdong Zhang, Jens Ulstrup

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Self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) formed by chemisorption of a branched-chain alkanethiol, 2-methyl-1-propanethiol, on Au(111) surfaces were studied by in situ scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) under electrochemical potential control and analyzed using extensive density functional theory (DFT) calculations. The SAM forms in the unusual (8 × √3)-4 superlattice, producing a very complex STM image. Seventy possible structures were considered for the SAM, with the calculated lowest-energy configuration in fact predicting the details of the unusual observed STM image. The most stable structure involves two R−S−Au−S−R adatom-mediated motifs per surface cell, with steric-induced variations in the adsorbate alignment inducing the observed STM image contrasts. Observed pits covering 5.6 ± 0.5% of the SAM surface are consistent with this structure. These results provide the missing link from the structural motifs observed on surfaces at low coverage and on gold nanoparticles to the observed spectroscopic properties of high-coverage SAMs formed by methanethiol. However, the significant role attributed to intermolecular steric packing effects suggests a lack of generality for the adatom-mediated motif at high coverage.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Part C: Nanomaterials and Interfaces
Issue number45
Pages (from-to)19601-19608
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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