Reversible lability by in Situ reaction of self-assembled monolayers

Hector M. Saavedra, Christopher M. Thompson, J. Nathan Hohman, Vincent H. Crespi, Paul S. Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


We describe a new methodology for the fabrication of controllably displaceable monolayers using a carboxyl-functionalized self-assembled monolayer and in situ Fischer esterification, a simple and reversible chemical reaction. Using an 11-mercaptoundecanoic acid monolayer as a model system, we show that in situ esterification results in the creation of subtle chemical and structural defects. These defects promote molecular exchange reactions with n-dodecanethiol molecules, leading to the complete and rapid displacement of the exposed areas. Displacement results in well-ordered crystalline n-dodecanethiolate monolayer films. We also show that the complementary hydrolysis reaction can be employed to quench the reacted monolayer, significantly hindering further displacement. The generality of reversible lability was tested by applying the in situ esterification reaction to the structurally distinct carboxyl-functionalized molecule 3-mercapto-1-adamantanecarboxylic acid. Beyond its applicability to create mixed-composition monolayers, this methodology could be combined with chemical patterning techniques, such as microdisplacement printing, to fabricate complex functional surfaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2252-2259
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number6
StatePublished - Feb 18 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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