Nanostructures of self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) are designed and produced using coadsorption and nanografting techniques. Because the structures of these artificially engineered domains are predesigned and well-characterized, a systematic investigation is possible to study the mechanical responses to force modulation under atomic force microscope tips. Force modulation imaging reveals characteristic contrast sensitivity to changes in molecular-level packing, molecule chain lengths, domain boundaries, and surface chemical functionalities in SAMs. By means of actively tuning the driving frequency, the resonances at the tip-surface contact are selectively activated. Therefore, specific surface features, such as the edges of the domains and nanostructures or desired chemical functionalities, can be selectively enhanced in the amplitude images. These observations provide a new and active approach in materials characterization and the study of nanotribology using atomic force microscopy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry