Lateral dipole moments induced by all-cis-pentafluorocyclohexyl groups cause unanticipated effects in self-assembled monolayers

Christian Fischer, Saunak Das, Qingzhi Zhang, Yangbiao Liu, Lothar Weinhardt, David O’Hagan*, Michael Zharnikov*, Andreas Terfort*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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All-cis-hexafluoro- and all-cis-pentafluoro-cyclohexane (PFCH) derivatives are new kinds of materials, the structures and properties of which are dominated by the highly dipolar Janus-face motif. Here, we report on the effects of integrating the PFCH groups into self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) of alkanethiolates on Au(111). Monolayers with an odd (eleven) and even (twelve) number of methylene groups were characterized in detail by several complementary experimental tools, supported by theoretical calculations. Surprisingly, all the data show a high similarity of both kinds of monolayers, nearly lacking the typically observed odd-even effects. These new monolayers have a packing density about 1/3 lower than that of non-substituted alkanethiolate monolayers, caused by the bulkiness of the PFCH moieties. The orientations of the PFCH groups and the alkyl chains could be determined independently, suggesting a conformation similar to the one found in the solid state structure of an analogous compound. Although in the SAMs the PFCH groups are slightly tilted away from the surface normal with the axial fluorine atoms pointing downwards, most of the dipole moments of the group remain oriented parallel to the surface, which is a unique feature for a SAM system. The consequences are much lower water contact angles compared to other partly fluorinated SAMs as well as rather moderate work function values. The interaction between the terminal PFCH moieties results in an enhanced stability of the PFCH-decorated SAMs toward exchange reaction with potential molecular substituents in spite of the lower packing density of these films.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11030-11041
Number of pages12
JournalNano Research
Issue number8
Early online date26 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2023


  • Odd-even effects
  • Work function
  • Self-assembled monolayer (SAM)
  • Kinetic stability
  • Infrared-reflection
  • Adsorption spectroscopy
  • X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy


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