In situ and real-time atomic force microscopy studies of the stability of oligothiophene langmuir-blodgett monolayers in liquid

Naining Yin, Alexander A. Buyanin, Shawn L. Riechers, Olivia P. Lee, Jean Frechet, Miquel B. Salmerón, Gangyu Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


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. © 2014 American Chemical Society.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5789-5795
Number of pages7
JournalThe Journal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number11
StatePublished - Mar 12 2014

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: We appreciate many helpful discussions with Drs. G. Yang, M. Zhang, N. Schore, and Mr. A. Hicklin at the University of California, Davis; Dr. W. Miller at Sacramento City College; and Mr. Y. Zhang at the University of California, Berkeley. This work was supported by NSF (CHE-0809977 and DMR-1104260), the University of California, Davis and Berkeley, and the Betty and Gordon Moore Foundation.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • General Energy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials


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