Nucleation and Growth of Molecular Crystals on Self-Assembled Monolayers

Lynn M. Frostman, Mamoun M. Bader, Michael D. Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Self-assembled organosulfur monolayers with different interfacial chemical functionalities influence the heterogeneous nucleation and growth of malonic acid crystals. Nucleation rates of malonic acid (HOOCCH2COOH), as deduced from the number of crystals per unit area and mean crystal size, are significantly more rapid on organosulfur monolayers terminated with carboxylic acid groups ([Au]-S(CH2)11COOH and [Au]-S(CH2)15COOH) than on corresponding monolayers terminated with methyl, methyl ester, or ethyl ester functionalities. X-ray diffraction reveals that the orientation of malonic acid crystals is affected by the monolayer composition. The malonic acid (001) plane, described by truncated hydrogen-bonded chains, is oriented parallel to the [Au]-S(CH2)11COOH monolayer interface. However, this orientation is absent on [Au]-S(CH2)11CH3and [Au]-S(CH2)11COOCH3. The observed behavior is consistent with interfacial stabilization of malonic acid prenucleation aggregates by interfacial hydrogen bonding and surface polar forces when carboxylic acid monolayers are employed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)576-582
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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