What Are the “Holes” in Self-Assembled Monolayers of Alkanethiols on Gold?

C. Schönenberger, J. A.M. Sondag-Huethorst, J. Jorritsma, L. G.J. Fokkink

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterResearchpeer-review

277 Citations (Scopus)


The nature of the “holes” in self-assembled thiol monolayers—found in previous scanning-tunneling microscopy (STM) studies—is elucidated using STM with unprecedented high tunneling resistances (up to 1 TΩ). This enables the nondestructive imaging of dodecanethiol monolayers on Au(111) with atomic-scale resolution. The molecules are found to order in √3 × √3 domains separated by different types of missing row structures. This molecular ordering is typical not only for terraces but also for regions within “holes”. These regions are therefore neither openings (pinholes) nor regions of disorder in the monolayer. Instead, they are attributes of the Au surface, which most likely originate from an etching process during the adsorption of the molecules.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)611-614
Number of pages4
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 1994
Externally publishedYes

Cite this