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Complex, functional self-assembled monolayers (SAMs)

By functionalizing surfaces with a single, often highly ordered, layer of chemisorbed molecules, it becomes possible to modify their properties at the nanoscale using organic chemistry. Such SAMs have been widely applied over the past 40 years: to protect reactive metal surfaces; probe fundamental electrochemical, charge transport and thermodynamic questions; alter metal work functions; or anchor proteins or catalysts. However, conventional approaches produce SAMs that exhibit severe limitations in terms of stability and/or function. Different strategies are being explored to address these issues, including the introduction of new surface-linker groups or the development of patterning techniques based on supramolecular interactions. We are particularly interested in how the structure and dimensionality of individual, electrochemically addressable, SAM components can be exploited to direct self-assembly. Post-assembly, we are developing in situ reaction chemistries that can impart additional function(s) and facilitate the construction of complex surface-based molecular architectures.