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AFM Imaging of Mercaptobenzoic Acid on Au(110): Submolecular Contrast with Metal Tips

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journal contribution
posted on 11.05.2016, 00:00 by Nadine Hauptmann, Roberto Robles, Paula Abufager, Nicolas Lorente, Richard Berndt
A self-assembled monolayer of mercaptobenzoic acid (MBA) on Au(110) is investigated with scanning tunneling and atomic force microscopy (STM and AFM) and density functional calculations. High-resolution AFM images obtained with metallic tips show clear contrasts between oxygen atoms and phenyl moieties. The contrast above the oxygen atoms is due to attractive covalent interactions, which is different than previously reported high-resolution images, where Pauli repulsion dominated the image contrast. We show that the bonding of MBA to the substrate occurs mainly through dispersion interactions, whereas the thiol–Au bond contributes only a quarter of the adsorption energy. No indication of Au adatoms mediating the thiol–Au interaction was found in contrast to other thiol-bonded systems. However, MBA lifts the Au(110)-(2 × 1) reconstruction.

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