Self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) formed from semifluorinated alkanethiols (SFATs) CF3(CF2)9(CH2)nSH (F10HnSH: n = 2, 11, and 17) on polycrystalline Au and Ag were characterized by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, infrared reflection absorption spectroscopy, and near edge X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy. SFATs were found to form highly ordered and densely packed SAMs on both substrates. The molecules are strongly bonded to the substrates via their sulfur head groups, in the same manner as conventional alkanethiol (AT) SAMs. The hydrocarbon (except for n = 2) and fluorocarbon parts of the adsorbed SFATs retain the expected planar zigzag and helical conformations of the respective bulk materials. The orientation of the fluorocarbon chains does not depend on the substrate. These entities are almost perpendicular to the substrate in F10H2S/Au and F10H2S/Ag and become slightly more tilted in SFAT SAMs with longer hydrocarbon moieties. However, the alkyl parts of the SFAT films exhibit tilt and twist angles that are similar to those of normal alkanethiol films on Ag and Au substrates despite the reduced packing density in the SFAT films as compared to normal AT SAMs. We suggest that the substrate-related differences in tilt and twist angles for both systems are associated with the different character of the head-group-substrate bonding on Au and Ag.
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