What can a scanning tunneling microscope image do for the insulating alkanethiol molecules on Au(111) substrates?

Zeng, Changgan; Li, Bin; Wang, Bing; Wang, Haiqian; Wang, Kedong; Yang, Jinlong; Hou, J. G.; Zhu, Qingshi
July 2002
Journal of Chemical Physics;7/8/2002, Vol. 117 Issue 2, p851
Academic Journal
A low temperature scanning tunneling microscope (STM) has been employed to investigate the insulating alkanethiol self-assembled monolayers chemisorbed on Au(111) substrates. The STM images show clear intramolecular patterns, which are voltage- and site-dependent. Theoretical simulations, using the density functional theory, reproduce the experimental STM images. Our results show that due to the chemisorption, there are new states appeared in the energy gap of the alkanethiol, and they are mainly composed of Au and S orbitals, mixed with a small amount of orbitals at the alkyl part. The STM only images the states localized at the tail carbon-hydrogen groups since the Au and S atoms are located farther from the STM tip, and the images can reflect the surface topography of such standing molecular layers.


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