Direct structural observation of a molecular junction by high-energy x-ray reflectometry

Michael Lefenfeld, Julian Baumert, Eli Sloutskin, Ivan Kuzmenko, Peter Pershan, Moshe Deutsch, Colin Nuckolls, Benjamin M. Ocko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


We report a direct angstrom resolution measurement of the structure of a molecular-size electronic junction comprising a single (or a double) layer of alkyl-thiol and alkyl-silane molecules at the buried interface between solid silicon and liquid mercury. The high-energy synchrotron x-ray measurements reveal densely packed layers comprising roughly interface-normal molecules. The monolayer's thickness is found to be 3-4 Å larger than that of similar layers at the free surfaces of both mercury and silicon. The origins of this and the other unusual features detected are discussed in this article. Measurements of the bilayer junction with an applied potential did not show visible changes in the surface normal structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2541-2545
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number8
StatePublished - 21 Feb 2006


FundersFunder number
Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences0117752


    • Monolayers
    • Structure
    • X-ray reflectivity
    • molecular electronics


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