Self-assembly, characterization, and chemical stability of isocyanide-bound molecular wire monolayers on gold and palladium surfaces

Joshua James Stapleton, Thomas A. Daniel, Sundarajan Uppili, Orlando M. Cabarcos, Jawad Naciri, Ranganathan Shashidhar, David L. Allara

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Self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) of the isocyano derivative of 4,4′-di(phenylene-ethynylene)benzene (1), a member of the "OPE" family of "molecular wires" of current interest in molecular electronics, have been prepared on smooth, {111} textured films of Au and Pd. For assembly in oxygen-free environments with freshly deposited metal surfaces, infrared reflection spectroscopy (IRS) indicates the molecules assume a tilted structure with average tilt angles of 18-24° from the surface normal. The combination of IRS, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and density functional theory calculations all support a single σ-type bond of the -NC group to the Au surface and a σ/π-type of bond to the Pd surface. Both SAMs show significant chemical instability when exposed to typical ambient conditions. In the case of the Au SAM, even a few hours storage in air results in significant oxidation of the -NC moieties to -NCO (isocyanate) with an accompanying decrease in surface chemical bonding, as evidenced by a significant increase in instability toward dissolution in solvent. In the case of the Pd SAM, similar air exposure does not result in incorporation of oxygen or loss of solvent resistance but rather results in a chemically altered interface which is attributed to polymerization of the -NC moieties to quasi-2D poly(imine) structures. Conductance probe atomic force microscope measurements show the conductance of the degraded Pd SAMs can diminish by ∼2 orders of magnitude, an indication that the SAM-Pd electrical contact has severely degraded. These results underscore the importance of careful control of the assembly procedures for aromatic isocyanide SAMs, particularly for applications in molecular electronics where the molecule-electrode junction is critical to the operational characteristics of the device.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11061-11070
Number of pages10
Issue number24
StatePublished - Nov 22 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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