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Applied Surface Science

  • Advanced materials
  • Life Sciences

Solvent-Mediated Self-Assembly of Hexadecanethiol on GaAs (001)

Authors Xiaohuan Huang, and Jan J. Dubowski


We have investigated the influence of solvents on the quality of hexadecanethiol (HDT) self-assembled monolayers (SAM) formed on GaAs (0 0 1) in chloroform, ethanol and ethanol/water 1:1 characterized by their increasing dielectric constants from 4.8 (chloroform) to 24.5 (ethanol) and water (80.1). Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) data show that the incubation in ethanol/water 1:1 solution creates conditions favouring inter-molecular interaction leading to the formation of an outstanding quality HDT SAM on GaAs (0 0 1). Incubation in low-dielectric constant solvents is not offering advantageous conditions for growing HDT SAM on GaAs. The chloroform environment, while weakening the thiol–thiol interaction, induces the oxidation of the GaAs surface and, in particular, formation of Ga2O3. This reduces the concentration of surface defects responsible for non-radiative recombination and leads to an enhanced photoluminescence emission, despite the fact that HDT SAM formed in chloroform are highly disordered, exhibiting the worst chemical passivation among the investigated samples.

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