The spontaneous growth of lamellar metal-alkanethiolates (LMAs) on reactive ferromagnetic surfaces as a result of surface oxidation has been observed. When alkanethiol self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) grown under an inert atmosphere over cobalt or permalloy (Ni80Fe20) are exposed to air, oxygen diffuses through the molecular layer. This induces an oxidation of metal atoms at the metal surface and a release of the resulting metal cations that migrate coordinated by the alkanethiol molecules to form lamellar structures over the SAMs. This process has been imaged in real-time, under ambient conditions, by means of different microscopy techniques. The influence of the alkyl chain length, the nature of the ferromagnet, the temperature and the atmospheric moisture on the number, area and height of the resulting features has been systematically evaluated. Remarkably, the possibility to follow the migration in real-time makes it a promising model system for the study of surface/molecule interface processes. Most importantly, the composition and crystallinity of these LMAs have been studied, evidencing that real 2D coordination polymers are formed on the surface. Hence, one could envision this strategy as a new method for the assembly of more complex low-dimensional (2D) magnetic materials based on coordination polymers.
Mattera, M., Rubio-Giménez, V., Delprat, S., Mattana, R., Seneor, P., Tatay, S., … Coronado, E. (2018). Spontaneous growth of 2D coordination polymers on functionalized ferromagnetic surfaces. Chemical Science, 9(47), 8819–8828. https://doi.org/10.1039/c8sc03067g