Spectroscopic Identification of the Au-C Bond Formation upon Electroreduction of an Aryl Diazonium Salt on Gold

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Electroreduction of aryl diazonium salts on gold can produce organic films that are more robust than their analogous self-assembled monolayers formed from chemical adsorption of organic thiols on gold. However, whether the enhanced stability is due to the Au-C bond formation remains debated. In this work, we report the electroreduction of an aryl diazonium salt of 4,4'-disulfanediyldibenzenediazonium on gold forming a multilayer of Au-(Ar-S-S-Ar), which can be further degraded to a monolayer of Au-Ar-S by electrochemical cleavage of the S-S moieties within the multilayer. By conducting an in situ surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopic study of both the multilayer formation/degradation and the monolayer reduction/oxidation processes, coupled to density functional theory calculations, we provide compelling evidence that an Au-C bond does form upon electroreduction of aryl diazonium salts on gold and that the enhanced stability of the electrografted organic films is due to the Au-C bond being intrinsically stronger than the Au-S bond for a given phenylthiolate compound by ca. 0.4 eV.

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Langmuir : the ACS journal of surfaces and colloids

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