Conformation and dynamics of arylthiol self-assembled monolayers on Au(111)

TE Dirama and JA Johnson, LANGMUIR, 23, 12208-12216 (2007).

DOI: 10.1021/la7015963

We report a computational investigation of the conformation and the dynamics of self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) of a set of aromatic thiols arranged in the (root 3 x root 3)-R30 degrees packing ratio on a Au(111) surface using molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. It was found that the molecular conformations were better defined for the arylthiol with two phenyl groups as compared to those with a single phenyl group and that the chemical structure of the head and tail groups had a considerable influence on the system geometry. In line with the density functional theory (DFT) calculations of small thiol molecules, we found for the SAMs that the face-centered cubic (fee) site on the Au(111) surface was the most preferred, followed by the hexagonal close-packed (hcp) site, while the bridge position showed the characteristics of a local energy maximum. The dynamics of thiol head groups on these three Au sites was found to govern the overall dynamics of SAMs as measured by the mean square displacement. We also report that both the conformation and the dynamics on the studied time scale were driven by the SAM formation energy.

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