Oligothiophene thin films have been considered as promising material for molecular electronics due to their desirable electronic properties and high structural stability under ambient conditions. To ensure performance in devices the functional structures, such as individual ordered domains, must be stable under practical and operational conditions or environments including exposure to various media. This work investigates the structure of oligothiophene Langmuir-Blodgett (LB) films upon exposure to liquid media such as water, ethanol (EtOH), and mixed tetrahydrofuran (THF)/EtOH solutions. The LB films form islands ranging from 500 nm up to 1 μm consisting of densely packed oligothiophene molecules. These islands are surrounded by bare substrate and loosely packed adsorbates. In situ and time-dependent AFM images were acquired to reveal the structural evolution, from which degradation pathways and kinetics are extracted. Degradation of these LB films initiates and propagates from intraisland defect sites, such as cracks and pin holes, whereas the edges of islands remain intact on the surface. The observations appear to be in contrast to the known degradation mechanism among self-assembled monolayers, such as alkanethiols on gold, which initiates and progresses at domain boundaries. Rationale for the observed degradation processes will also be discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films