Advanced Materials

Golden interfaces: The surface of self-assembled monolayers

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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.