Golden interfaces: The Surface of Self-Assembled Monolayers


  • E.D., H.B., and B.M. acknowledge partial support from the Swiss Federal Office for Education and Science within the Esprit basic research Project pronano (8523), and E.D. acknowledges partial support by the Swiss NSF (NFP24+ project). We thank D. Anselmetti, A. Baratoff, H. Kang, N. Larsen, H. Ringsdorf, M. Sprik, T. Takami, and H. Wolf for their collaboration. We are grateful to C. Joachim, M. Klein, and H. Rohrer for helpful discussions and to P. Guéret for his constant support.


Self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) of alkanethiols and disulfides on gold form organic interfaces with properties largely controlled by the end groups of the molecules composing the film. SAMs provide a unique link between the science of organic surfaces and technologies that seek to exploit their adaptable character. Many techniques are useful for probing the structure of SAMs although only scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) at picoamperes reveals the details of the packing of their end groups at the sub-angstrom level. This review demonstrates that STM effectively tests new types of control over the microscopic structure–property relationships characteristic of SAMs on gold that should prove useful to their application.