Preparation, structure, and mechanical stability of alkylsilane monolayers on mica

X. d. Xiao, Gang-yu Liu, D. H. Charych, M. Salmeron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations


The preparation, structure, and mechanical stability of self-assembled monolayers formed by octadecyltriethoxysilane (OTE) on mica have been studied by atomic force microscopy. The nanometer scale morphology of the films (3-D clusters, pinholes, etc.) is compared for various preparation methods and correlated with their macroscopic wettability. High-resolution images of the atomically smooth monolayer (1.5 A root mean square roughness) reveal the existence of only short range order. By applying a load above 10 nN with sharp Si3N4 tips (radius < 300 A), the film could be removed leaving 25 A deep holes. Using the same tip, thiol monolayers on gold could be displaced at loads ≈5 nN, although, in this case, the displacement was reversible. In contrast to the case of OTE, films formed by octadeeyldimethylmethxysilane (ODMS) showed the presence of only 3-D clusters with poor adhesion to the mica substrate. On the basis of these results, we conclude that the mechanical strength of the films formed by OTE is due to siloxane cross-linking between molecules rather than to chemical bonding to the mica substrate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1600-1604
Number of pages5
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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