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Hydrophilic surfaces via the self-assembly of nitrile-terminated alkanethiols on gold

1 Departments of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering and the Texas Center for Superconductivity, University of Houston, Houston, Texas 77204, United States
2 Department of Chemistry, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, One West University Blvd., Brownsville, Texas 78520, United States

Topical Section: Thin films, surfaces and interfaces

A series of CN-terminated alkanethiols were synthesized and used to generate self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) on gold. The SAMs were characterized using ellipsometry, contact angle goniometry, polarization modulation infrared reflection absorption spectroscopy (PM-IRRAS), and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The SAMs were compared to those derived from a series of analogous CH3-terminated alkanethiols. The CN-terminated SAMs exhibited lower film thicknesses than the CH3-terminated SAMs, which was largely due to their greater tilt angle on the surface. Additionally, the CN-terminated SAMs form well-ordered films on flat gold surfaces with relative packing densities being indistinguishable from the CH3-terminated SAMs. The CN-terminated SAMs exhibited a less hydrophobic character than the SAMs derived from CH3-terminated adsorbates, which was attributed to the dipole moment of the terminal group as well as the lone pair of the nitrogen atom of the CN-terminal group.
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