Dynamic properties of n-alkyl monolayers covalently bonded to Si(111) were studied by broadband admittance spectroscopy as a function of the temperature and the applied voltage using rectifying Hg/C12H25/n-type Si junctions. Partial substitution of methyl end groups by polar (carboxylic acid) moieties was used to enhance the chain end relaxation response. Two thermally activated dissipation mechanisms (B1 and B2, with fB1 < fB2) are evidenced for all reverse bias values. The strong decrease of both relaxation frequencies with increasing reverse dc bias reveals increasing motional constraints, attributed to electrostatic pressure applied to the densely-packed nanometer-thick monolayer. Spectral decomposition of the frequency response shows a power-law dependence of their activation energies on |VDC|. A large reverse bias reversibly increases the B2 response attributed to the distribution of gauche defects, in contrast with the constant strength of the acid dipole loss (B1). A trans-gauche isomerization energy of 50 meV is derived from the temperature dependence of the B2 dipolar strength. For both dissipation mechanisms, the observed linear correlation between activation energy and logarithm of pre-exponential factor is consistent with a multi-excitation entropy model, in which the molecular reorientation path is strongly coupled with a large number of low energy excitations (here the n-alkyl bending vibrational mode) collected from the thermal bath. This collective dynamic behavior of alkyl chains tethered to Si is also confirmed by the asymmetric relaxation peak shape related to many-body interactions in complex systems.
Godet, C. (2015). Entropy effects in the collective dynamic behavior of alkyl monolayers tethered to Si(111). Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology, 6(1), 583–594. https://doi.org/10.3762/bjnano.6.60