• monolayers;
  • nanostructures;
  • scanning probe microscopy;
  • self-assembly;
  • surface chemistry


Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Surfaces with purposes: The electroinitiated patterning of self-assembled monolayers enables the fabrication of a variety of complex nanostructures (see picture). The possibilities offered by the introduction of chemical selectivity through the local generation of chemically active groups and subsequent derivatization are reviewed, with a focus on progress in this area of research over the last four years.

The local oxidation of self-assembled monolayers with a scanning probe is a promising method for the generation of structures with chemical functionalities on the nanometer scale. This technique, which takes advantage of the chemical stability and versatility of self-assembled monolayers and the ability to pattern these monolayers by scanning-probe-based oxidation methods, enables the hierarchical assembly of complex structures in a controlled manner. Surface modification can be followed by the assembly of a further functional monolayer and/or additional surface-modification reactions in the targeted, sequential construction of functional device features.