11. Study of Insulating Properties of Alkanethiol

The electrochemical interfacial properties of a well-ordered self-assembled monolayer(SAM) of 1-undecanethiol (UDT) on evaporated gold surface have been investigated by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) in electrolytes without a redox couple.Using a constant-phase element (CPE) series resistance model, prolonged incubation times (up to 120 h) show decreasing monolayer capacitance approaching the theoretical value for 1-undecanethiol. Using the CPE exponent α as a measure of ideality, it was found that the monolayer approaches an ideal dielectric (α=0.992) under prolonged incubation, which is attributed to the reduction of pinholes and defects in the monolayer during coalescence and annealing of SAM chains. The SAMs behave as insulators until a critical potential, Vc, is exceeded in both cathodic and anodic regimes, where electrolyte ions are believed to penetrate the monolayers. Using a Randles circuit model for these cases, the variation of the capacitance and charge transfer resistance with applied dc potential shows decreased permeability to ionic species with prolonged incubation time.The EIS data show that UDT (methylene chain length n=10), incubated for 120 h, forms a monolayer whose critical voltage range extends from -0.3 to 0.5 V versus Ag/AgCl,previously attained only for alkanethiol at n=15. At low frequencies where ion diffusion occurs, almost pure capacitive phase (-89 deg) was attained with lengthy incubation.

Agonafer, D.D., E. Chainani, M.E. Oruc, K.S. Lee, M.A. Shannon, “Study of Insulating Properties of Alkanethiol Self Assembled Monolayers Formed Under Prolonged Incubation Using Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy”, Journal of Nanotechnology in Engineering and Medicine, 3 (2013) 031006-031006.