X-ray Damage to CF3CO2-Terminated Organic Monolayers on Si/Au: Principal Effect of Electrons

Science  15 Nov 1991:
Vol. 254, Issue 5034, pp. 981-983
DOI: 10.1126/science.254.5034.981


The relative importance of x-rays alone and of x-ray-generated primary and secondary electrons in damaging organic materials was explored by use of self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) on multilayer thin-film supports. The substrates were prepared by the deposit of thin films of silicon (0, 50, 100, and 200 angstroms) on thick layers of gold (2000 angstroms). These systems were supported on chromium-primed silicon wafers. Trifluoroacetoxy-terminated SAMs were assembled on these substrates, and the samples were irradiated with common fluxes of monochromatic aluminum Kα x-rays. The fluxes and energy distributions of the electrons generated by interactions of the x-rays with the various substrates, however, differed. The substrates that emitted a lower flux of electrons exhibited a slower loss of fluorine from the SAMs. This observation indicated that the electrons—and not the x-rays themselves—were largely responsible for the damage to the organic monolayer.