Institute of Functional Interfaces

Molecular Mechanisms of Electron-Induced Cross-Linking in Aromatic SAMsA

  • chair:

    Turchanin, A. /  Käfer, D. /  El-Desawy, M. / Wöll, Ch. / Witte, G. /Gölzhäuser, A. (2009)

  • place:

    Langmuir (2009), online av.

  • Date: 2009
  • Turchanin, A. /  Käfer, D. /  El-Desawy, M. / Wöll, Ch. / Witte, G. /Gölzhäuser, A. (2009): „Molecular Mechanisms of Electron-Induced Cross-Linking in Aromatic SAMsA“. In: Langmuir (2009), online av.


When aromatic self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) are electron-irradiated, intermolecular cross-links are formed and the SAMs transform into carbon nanosheets with molecular thickness. These nanosheets have a very high mechanical stability and can withstand temperatures above 1000 K.

In this report, we investigate the electron induced cross-linking of 1,10-biphenyl-4-thiol (BPT) SAMs on gold by combining X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), X-ray absorption spectroscopy (NEXAFS), thermal desorption spectroscopy (TDS), and UV photoelectron spectroscopy (UPS). The experimental data were acquired as a function of electron dose and temperature and compared with quantum chemical calculations.

Details of the intermolecular cross-linking, the microstructure of cross-linked films, and their structural transformations upon heating were obtained to derive a view of the mechanisms involved. Our analysis shows that room-temperature electron irradiation causes a lateral cross-linking via the formation of C-C linked phenyl species as well as a new sulfur species.

The thermal stability of the BPT films increases with the electron dose and saturates at ∼50 mC/cm2. Nevertheless, nonlinked fragments in the thermal desorption spectra indicate an incomplete cross-linking even at high doses, which can be attributed to steric reasons and quenching due to the reduced band gap of partially linked molecules. At temperatures above 800 K, all sulfur species are thermally desorbed, while the remaining film reveals an onset of carbonization.


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