Structural and chemical characterization of monofluoro-substituted oligo(phenylene-ethynylene) thiolate self-assembled monolayers on gold

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Monolayers of oligo(phenylene-ethynylene) (OPE) molecules have exhibited promise in molecular electronic test structures. This paper discusses films formed from a novel molecule within this class, 2-fluoro-4-phenylethynyl-1-[(4-acetylthio)phenylethynyl]benzene (F-OPE). The conditions of self-assembled monolayer (SAM) formation were systematically altered to fabricate reproducible high-quality molecular monolayers from the acetate-protected F-OPE molecule. Detailed characterization of the F-OPE monolayers was performed by using an array of surface probes, including reflection absorbance infrared spectroscopy (RAIRS), contact angle (CA) measurements, spectroscopic ellipsometry (SE), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopy (UPS), and atomic force microscopy (AFM). XPS and RAIRS established that the SAM formed without removal of the F substituent and without oxidation of the thiol. The monolayer thickness, determined from SE and AFM based nanolithography, was consistent with the formation of a densely packed monolayer. The valence electronic structure of the SAM was consistent with an aromatic structure shifted by the electron-withdrawing fluorine substituent and intermolecular coupling within an oriented array of molecules.

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