Mechanical Properties of Oligothiophene Self Assembled Films by Atomic Force Microscopy


The oligothiophene derivative (4-(5″″-tetradecyl-[2,2′;5′,2″;5″,2″′;5″′,2″″] pentathiophen-5-yl)-butyric acid (C14-5TBA) was synthesized and the structural and mechanical properties of self-assembled monolayers on mica have been studied by atomic force microscopy (AFM). The films were prepared by drop casting a dilute THF solution (1mM) of the oligothiphene on mica. Islands containing primarily monolayers with a very small percentage of multilayers were formed. The molecules adsorb through the carboxylic group, and expose the alkyl chain (CH2)13CH3. High resolution AFM scans reveal a well ordered structure of molecules with unit cell dimensions of 0.65 and 0.46 nm. Applying load to the tip, the molecular film was gradually compressed from an initial height of 4.1nm to a final one of 2.6 nm, corresponding to atilt of the alkyl chains. In regions covered with bilayers the molecules in the second layer were oriented opposite to those in the first layer, thus exposing the carboxylic end group to the air. These second layer was easily removed as the tip pressure increased.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. 1

    Skotheim, T. A.; Elsenbaumer, R. L.; Reynolds, J. R. Handbook of Conducting Polymers; Marcel Dekker: New York, 1998.

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Fichou, D. Handbook of Oligo- and Polythiophenes; Wiley-VCH: New York, 1998.

    Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    (a) Dimitropoulos, C. D.; Malenfant, P. R. L. Adv. Mater. 2002, 14, 99. (b) Huitema, H. E. A.; Gelinck, G. H.; van der Putten, J. B. P. H.; Kuijk, K. E.; Hart, C. M.; Cantatore, E.; Herwig, P. T.; van Breemen, A. J. M. M.; de Leeuw, D. M. Nature 2001, 414, 599. (c) Babel, A.; Jenekhe, S. A. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2003, 125, 13656.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    See references contained in: Mullen, K.; Wegner, G. Electronic Materials: The Oligomer Approach; Wiley-VCH: New York, 1998.

    Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    (a) Bader, M. M.; Custelcean, R.; Ward, M. D. Chem. Mater. 2002, 15, 616. (b) Facchetti, A.; Mushrush, M.; Katz, H. E.; Marks., T. J. Adv. Mater. 2003, 15, 33. (c) Chesterfield, R. J.; Newman, C. R.; Pappenfus, T. M.; Ewbank, P. C.; Haukaas, M. H.; Mann, K. R.; Miller, L. L.; Frisbie, C. D. Adv. Mater. 2003, 15, 1279. (d) Halik, M.; Klauk, H.; Zschieschang, U.; Schmid, G.; Ponomarenko, S.; Kirchmeyer, S.; Weber, W. Adv. Mater. 2003, 15, 91. (e) Facchetti, A.; Yoon, M.-H.; Stern, C. L.; Katz, H. E.; Marks, T. J. Angew. Chem. 2003, 115, 4030. (f) Videlot, C.; Ackermann, J.; Blanchard, P.; Raimundo, J.-M.; Frere, P.; Allain, M.; de Bettignies, R.; Levillain, E.; Roncali, J. Adv. Mater. 2003, 15, 306

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Horowitz, G.; Bachet, B.; Yassar, A.; Lang, P.; Demanze, F.; Fave, L.-L.; Garnier, F. Chem. Mater. 1995, 7, 1337.

    Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Servet, B.; Horowitz, G.; Ries, S.; Lagorsse, O.; Alnot, P.; Yassar, A.; Deloffre, F.; Srivastava, P.; Hajlaoui, R.; Lang, P.; Garnier, F. Chem. Mater. 1994, 6, 1809–1815.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Fichou, D. J. Mater. Chem. 2000, 10, 571–588.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    (a) Bjornholm, T.; Hassenkam, T.; Reitzel, N. J. Mater. Chem. 1999, 9, 1975–1990 (b) Reitzel, N.; Greve. D.R.; Kjaer, K.; Howes, P.B.; Jayaraman, M.; Savoy, S.; McCullough, R.D.; McDevitt, J.T.; Bjornholm, T. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2000, 122, 5788–5800

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10

    Sanberg, H.; Henze, O.; Sirringhaus, H.; Kilbinger, A.; Feast, W.; Friend, R. Proc. SPIE 2001, 4466, 35–43.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11

    Schenning, A.; Kilbinger, A.; Biscarini, F.; Cavallini, M.; Cooper, H.; Derrick, P.; Feast, W.; Lazzaroni, R.; Leclere, Ph.; McDonell, L.; Meijer, E.; Meskers, S. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2002, 124, 1269–1275.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12

    Chen, J.; Murphy, A. R.; Esteve, J.; Ogletree, D. F.; Salmeron, M.; Frechet, J. M. J.; Langmuir 2004; 20; 7703–7710.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Imma Ratera.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Ratera, I., Chen, J., Murphy, A. et al. Mechanical Properties of Oligothiophene Self Assembled Films by Atomic Force Microscopy. MRS Online Proceedings Library 871, 85 (2005).

Download citation