Direct monitoring of opto-mechanical switching of self-assembled monolayer films containing the azobenzene group

20 December, 2011 Einat Tirosh, Enrico Benassi, Silvio Pipolo, Marcel Mayor, Michal Valášek, Veronica Frydman, Stefano Corni and Sidney R. Cohen The potential for manipulation and control inherent in molecule-based motors holds great scientific and technological promise.Molecules containing the azobenzene group have been heavily studied in this context. While the effects of the cis–trans isomerization of the azo group in such molecules have been examined macroscopically by a number of techniques, modulations of the elastic modulus upon isomerization in self-assembled films were not yet measured directly. Here, we examine the mechanical response upon optical switching of bis[(1,1'-biphenyl)-4-yl]diazene organized in a self-assembled film on Au islands, using atomic force microscopy. Analysis of higher harmonics by means of a torsional harmonic cantilever allowed real-time extraction of mechanical
data. Quantitative analysis of elastic modulus maps obtained simultaneously with topographic images show that the modulus of the cis-form is approximately twice that of the trans-isomer. Quantum mechanical and molecular dynamics studies show good agreement with this experimental result, and indicate that the stiffer response in the cis-form comprises contributions both from the individual molecular bonds and from intermolecular interactions in the film. These results demonstrate the power and insights gained from cutting-edge AFM technologies, and advanced computational methods.

Self-assembled monolayers and titanium dioxide:From surface patterning to potential applications

20 December, 2011 Paz Yaron The ability to control the properties of self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) attached to solid surfaces and the rare photocatalytic properties of titanium dioxide provide a rationale for the study of systems comprising both. Such systems can be realized in the form of SAMs grown on TiO2 or, in a complementary manner, as TiO2 grown on SAMs. Accordingly, the current status of knowledge regarding SAMs on TiO2 is described. Photocatalytic phenomena that are of specific relevance to SAMs, such as remote degradation, and cases where SAMs were used to study photocatalytic phenomena, are discussed as well. Mastering of micropatterning is a key issue en route to a successful assimilation of a variety of titanium dioxide based devices. Accordingly, particular
attention is given to the description of a variety of methods and techniques aimed at utilizing the photocatalytic properties of titanium dioxide for patterning. Reports on a variety of applications are discussed. These examples, representing the areas of photovoltaics, microelectronics, microelectromechanics, photocatalysis, corrosion prevention and even biomedicine should be regarded as appetizers paving the way for further studies to be performed.

The role of the cantilever in Kelvin probe force microscopy measurements

18 May, 2011 George Elias, Thilo Glatzel, Ernst Meyer, Alex Schwarzman, Amir Boag and Yossi Rosenwaks The role of the cantilever in quantitative Kelvin probe force microscopy (KPFM) is rigorously analyzed. We use the boundary element method to calculate the point spread function of the measuring probe: Tip and cantilever. The calculations show that the cantilever has a very strong effect on the absolute value of the measured contact potential difference even under ultra-high vacuum conditions, and we demonstrate a good agreement between our model and KPFM measurements in ultra-high vacuum of NaCl monolayers grown on Cu(111). The effect of the oscillating cantilever shape on the KPFM resolution and sensitivity has been calculated and found to be relatively small.