We have devised an infrared spectromicroscopy based experimental configuration to enable structural characterization of buried molecular junctions. Our design utilizes a small mercury drop at the focal point of an infrared microscope to act as a mirror in studying metal-molecule-metal (MmM) junctions. An organic molecular monolayer is formed either directly on the mercury drop or on a thin, infrared (IR) semi-transparent layer of Au deposited onto an IR transparent, undoped silicon substrate. Following the formation of the monolayer, films on either metal can be examined independently using specular reflection spectroscopy. Furthermore, by bringing together the two monolayers, a buried molecular bilayer within the MmM junction can be characterized. Independent examination of each half of the junction prior to junction formation also allows probing any structural and/or conformational changes that occur as a result of forming the bilayer. Because our approach allows assembling and disassembling microscopic junctions by forming and withdrawing Hg drops onto the monolayer covered metal, spatial mapping of junctions can be performed simply by translating the location of the derivatized silicon wafer. Finally, the applicability of this technique for the longer-term studies of changes in molecular structure in the presence of electrical bias is discussed.
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