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Scanning tunneling microscopy of organic monolayers at the fluid- solid interface Public Deposited

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  • More that just magnificent views of atoms and molecules, Scanning Tunneling Microscopy, STM, images have the potential to answer some fundamental questions relating to surface molecular dynamics and bonding characteristics of localized species versus more common analytical tools that provide average of bulk sample information. A special feature of the STM is utilized in this study which is the ability to image organic monolayers at liquid-solid interface at ambient conditions. For STM analysis of organic fluids, the choice of a substrate is critical to the success of the images. The substrate must meet three criteria, the ability to sustain a tunneling current, retain an atomically flat surface over the area scanned, and immobilize a monolayer of the sample. The adsorption geometry created by the liquid crystalline materials analyzed in this study provided magnificent detailed features of the sample monolayer on a graphite substrate. These data provide information about the balance of intermolecular forces at the interface. It is illustrated that the quality or amount of information available from any fluid-solid interfacial image is dependent upon the existence of molecular symmetry within the monolayer of the substrate surface.
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