Chemistry (Weinheim an der Bergstrasse, Germany)

Self-assembly of alkanols on Au(111) surfaces.

PMID 16534826


Self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) of alkanols (1-C(N)H(2N+1)OH) with varying carbon-chain lengths (N = 10-30) have been systematically studied by means of scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) at the interfaces between alkanol solutions (or liquids) and Au(111) surfaces. The carbon skeletons were found to lie flat on the surfaces. This orientation is consistent with SAMs of alkanols on highly oriented pyrolytic graphite (HOPG) and MoS2 surfaces, and also with alkanes on reconstructed Au(111) surfaces. This result differs from a prior report, which claimed that 1-decanol molecules (N = 10) stood on their ends with the OH polar groups facing the gold substrate. Compared to alkanes, the replacement of one terminal CH3 group with an OH group introduces new bonding features for alkanols owing to the feasibility of forming hydrogen bonds. While SAMs of long-chain alkanols (N > 18) resemble those of alkanes, in which the aliphatic chains make a greater contribution, hydrogen bonding plays a more important role in the formation of SAMs of short-chain alkanols. Thus, in addition to the titled lamellar structure, a herringbone-like structure, seldom seen in SAMs of alkanes, is dominant in alkanol SAMs for values of N < 18. The odd-even effect present in alkane SAMs is also present in alkanol SAMs. Thus, the odd N alkanols (alkanols with an odd number of carbon atoms) adopt perpendicular lamellar structures owing to the favorable interactions of the CH3 terminal groups, similar to the result observed for odd alkanes. In contrast to alkanes on Au(111) surfaces, for which no SAMs on an unreconstructed gold substrate were observed, alkanols are capable of forming SAMs on either the reconstructed or the unreconstructed gold surfaces. Structural models for the packing of alkanol molecules on Au(111) surfaces have been proposed, which successfully explain these experimental observations.