Coordination-controlled electrodeposition of palladium/copper thin films onto a pyridine-terminated self-assembled monolayer

Zhen Yao*, Aaron B. Naden, Richard T. Baker, Manfred Buck*

*Corresponding author for this work

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A scheme for the electrodeposition of ultrathin bimetallic layers on top of a self-assembled monolayer (SAM) is investigated which combines the deposition of one metal (Pd) coordinated to a functionalized SAM (3-(4-pyridine-4-yl-phenyl)-propane-1-thiol, PyP3) on Au/mica with another metal (Cu) from the bulk electrolyte. The coordination-controlled electrodeposition (CCED) is a four-phase process comprising (i) Pd2+ coordination to the terminal pyridine units of the SAM, (ii) reduction of Pd and nanoparticle formation, (iii) formation of an intermixed shell of Pd and Cu, and (iv) deposition of bulk Cu. Chronoamperometry reveals a fast nucleation phase where Pd nanoparticles form within a few milliseconds and seed the Cu deposition. The Pd-Cu core-shell nature of deposited nanoparticles is confirmed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Harnessing the selective coordination of Pd2+ to PyP3, a one-pot procedure is further developed using electrolytes containing both Pd2+ and Cu2+ ions. Thus simplifying complexation and reduction, continuous Pd/Cu films are obtained in a multistep process as verified by scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). With a percolation threshold below 3 nm, CCED, as a SAM-controlled deposition strategy, offers an avenue for generation of ultrathin films.
Original languageEnglish
Article number112515
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of The Electrochemical Society
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2022


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