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Effect of Concentration, Chain Length, Hydrophobicity, and an External Electric Field on the Growth of Mixed Alkanethiol Self-Assembled Monolayers: A Molecular Dynamics Study

Publication Type : Journal Article

Thematic Areas : Center for Computational Engineering and Networking (CEN)

Source : Langmuir 37, 5, 1913-1924, 2021

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Campus : Coimbatore

School : Computational Engineering and Networking

Center : Center for Computational Engineering and Networking, Computational Engineering and Networking

Department : Center for Computational Engineering and Networking (CEN)

Year : 2021

Abstract : Growing functionalized self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) with fewer defects and lower cost is the focus of ongoing investigations. In the present study, molecular dynamics simulations were performed to investigate the process of SAM formation on a gold substrate from mixed alkanethiolates in ethanol solution. Using the mixed-SAM system of 11-mercaptoundecanoic acid (MUA) with either 1-decanethiol (C9CH3) or 6-mercaptohexanol (C6OH) in a 3:7 ratio as the standard SAM model, we systematically investigated the effects of the concentration, chain length, functional group, and an external electric field on SAM growth. The results showed that the initial growth rate and surface coverage of the SAM are dependent on the ligand concentration. At a certain high concentration (about 1.2–1.5 times the minimum concentration), the final surface coverage is optimal. Reducing the chain length and increasing the proportion of hydrophobic diluting molecules are effective ways to improve the surface coverage, but the compositional ligands have to be changed, which may not be desirable for the functional requirements of SAMs. Furthermore, by investigating the behavior of the alkanethiolates and ethanol solvent under an applied external field, we find that a strong electric field with a proper field direction can facilitate the generation of defect-free monolayers. These findings will contribute to the understanding of mixed-SAM formation and provide insight into experimental design for efficient and effective SAM formation.

Cite this Research Publication : Pratiti Bhadra; Shirley W. I. Siu "Effect of concentration, chain length, hydrophobicity, and external electric fields on growth of mixed alkanethiol self-assembled monolayers: A molecular dynamics study", Langmuir 37, 5, 1913-1924, 2021

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