This paper analyses the variability of self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) formation on ITO depending on the substrate surface features. In particular, we report on the formation of carboxylic acid- and thiol-based SAMs on two lots of commercially prepared indium-tin oxide (ITO) thin films. Contact angle measurements, electrochemical experiments, and near-edge x-ray absorption fine structure (NEXAFS) spectroscopy showed that the quality of monolayers formed differed substantially between the two ITO batches. Only one of the two ITO substrates was capable of forming well-organized thiol- and carboxylic acid-based SAMs. In order to rationalize these observations, atomic force microscopy and x-ray diffraction analyses were carried out, and SAMs were prepared on ITO substrates fabricated by sputtering in our laboratories. An attempt was made to influence the film microstructure and surface morphology by varying substrate temperatures during ITO deposition. Good-quality thiol and carboxylic acid SAMs were obtained on one of the ITO substrates prepared in-house. While our characterization could not single out conclusively one specific parameter in ITO surface structure that could be responsible for good SAMs formation, we could point out homogeneous surface morphology as a relevant factor for the quality of the SAMs. Evidence was also found for ITO crystallographic orientation to be a parameter influencing SAMs organization.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films