Exchange Reactions between Alkanethiolates and Alkaneselenols on Au{111}

When alkanethiolate self-assembled monolayers on Au{111} are exchanged with alkaneselenols from solution, replacement of thiolates by selenols is rapid and complete, and is well described by perimeter-dependent island growth kinetics. The monolayer structures change as selenolate coverage increases, from being epitaxial and consistent with the initial thiolate structure to being characteristic of selenolate monolayer structures. At room temperature and at positive sample bias in scanning tunneling microscopy, the selenolate–gold attachment is labile, and molecules exchange positions with neighboring thiolates. The scanning tunneling microscope probe can be used to induce these place-exchange reactions.