Nanoscale water condensation on click-functionalized self-assembled monolayers
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We have examined the nanoscale adsorption of molecular water under ambient conditions onto a series of well-characterized functionalized surfaces produced by Cu(I)-catalyzed alkyne-azide cycloaddition (CuAAC or "click") reactions on alkyne-terminated self-assembled monolayers on silicon. Water contact angle (CA) measurements reveal a range of macroscopic hydrophilicity that does not correlate with the tendency of these surfaces to adsorb water at the molecular level. X-ray reflectometry has been used to follow the kinetics of water adsorption on these "click"-functionalized surfaces, and also shows that dense continuous molecular water layers are formed over 30 h. For example, a highly hydrophilic surface, functionalized by an oligo(ethylene glycol) moiety (with a CA = 34°) showed 2.9 Å of adsorbed water after 30 h, while the almost hydrophobic underlying alkyne-terminated monolayer (CA = 84°) showed 5.6 Å of adsorbed water over the same period. While this study highlights the capacity of X-ray reflectometry to study the structure of adsorbed water on these surfaces, it should also serve as a warning for those intending to characterize self-assembled monolayers and functionalized surfaces to avoid contamination by even trace amounts of water vapor. Moreover, contact angle measurements alone cannot be relied upon to predict the likely degree of moisture uptake on such surfaces. © 2011 American Chemical Society.
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