The production and verification of pristine semi-fluorinated thiol monolayers on gold

TitleThe production and verification of pristine semi-fluorinated thiol monolayers on gold
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsFord, Kym, Battersby Bronwyn J., Wood Barry J., and Gentle Ian R.
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Pagination162 - 169
Date Published12/2012
AbstractThe presence of adventitious contamination of self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) is a well-known phenomenon that is often overlooked or underestimated in the literature. Herein, we demonstrate that it is possible to produce pristine self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) on gold surfaces that are devoid of adventitious species. The chemical purity or the pristine quality of the SAM was verified by the experimental relative atomic ratios measured by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) of all elements including carbon and corresponded to within 5% of the stoichiometric ratios. Perfluoro-octyl-thiolate (F8) was used as a model compound in this study, where monolayers were assembled from solutions of an acetylated F8 precursor. Quantitative elemental characterization of the acetylated F8 precursor by cold-stage XPS provided valuable reference data for the analysis of the subsequent SAMs. Comprehensive analysis of high-resolution XPS C 1s spectra proved to be essential for establishing the purity of the SAMs, since the peaks of the adventitious species were easily distinguished from those of the F8. Analyses of deliberately contaminated F8 SAMs showed that the adventitious species persisted during the process of self-assembly and therefore co-existed with the SAM in the interfacial region. The work also established that even a lengthy deposition time of 18 h was incapable of displacing the adventitious species present at the interface.