Use of alkane monolayer templates to modify the structure of alkyl ether monolayers on highly ordered pyrolytic graphite

Kimberly M. Papadantonakis, Bruce S. Brunschwig, Nathan S. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)


Scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) has been used to investigate the structure of pure and mixed monolayers formed by adsorption of long-chain alkanes and/or ethers on highly ordered pyrolytic graphite. Application of a pure phenyloctane solution of simple alkanes, such as tritriacontane, CH 3(CH2)31CH3, produced a monolayer within which the individual molecular axes were oriented perpendicular to the lamellar axes. In contrast, a pure solution of symmetrical long-chain ethers, such as di-n-hexadecyl ether, CH3(CH2) 15O(CH2)15CH3, produced a monolayer within which the molecular axes were oriented at an angle of ≈65° relative to the lamellar axes. The compositions of the overlying solutions were then gradually changed either from pure alkanes to nearly pure ethers or from pure ethers to nearly pure alkanes. When ethers replaced alkanes in the monolayer, the ethers conformed to the orientation within the existing alkane layer, rather than adopting the characteristic orientation of pure ether monolayers. However, when alkanes were incorporated into monolayers that had been formed from pure ether solutions, the orientation of the molecules within the monolayer converted to that characteristic of pure alkanes. Alkane monolayers thus acted as templates for subsequent ether layers, but ether monolayers did not act as templates for alkane layers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)857-861
Number of pages5
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 5 2008


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry

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