Nanografting versus solution self-assembly of α,ω- alkanedithiols on Au(111) investigated by AFM

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The solution self-assembly of α,ω-alkanedithiols onto Au(111) was investigated using atomic force microscopy (AFM). A heterogeneous surface morphology is apparent for 1,8-octanedithiol and for 1,9-nonanedithiol self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) prepared by solution immersion as compared to methyl-terminated n-alkanethiols. Local views from AFM images reveal a layer of mixed molecular orientations for α,ω-alkanedithiols, which evidence surface structures with heights corresponding to both lying-down and standing-up orientations. For dithiol SAMs prepared by solution self-assembly, the majority of α,ω-alkanedithiol molecules chemisorb with both thiol end groups bound to the Au(111) surface with the backbone of the alkane chain aligned parallel to the surface. However, AFM images disclose that there are also islands of standing molecules scattered throughout the surface. To measure the thickness of α,ω-alkanedithiol SAMs with angstrom sensitivity, methyl-terminated n-alkanethiols with known dimensions were used as molecular rulers. Under conditions of spatially constrained self-assembly, nanopatterns of α,ω-alkanedithiols written by nanografting formed monolayers with heights corresponding to an upright configuration. © 2008 American Chemical Society.

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