Browsing by Author "Costelle, Leila"

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  • Costelle, Leila (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    Nanoclusters are objects made up of several to thousands of atoms and form a transitional state of matter between single atoms and bulk materials. Due to their large surface-to-volume ratio, nanoclusters exhibit exciting and yet poorly studied size dependent properties. When deposited directly on bare metal surfaces, the interaction of the cluster with the substrate leads to alteration of the cluster properties, making it less or even non-functional. Surfaces modified with self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) were shown to form an interesting alternative platform, because of the possibility to control wettability by decreasing the surface reactivity and to add functionalities to pre-formed nanoclusters. In this thesis, the underlying size effects and the influence of the nanocluster environment are investigated. The emphasis is on the structural and magnetic properties of nanoclusters and their interaction with thiol SAMs. We report, for the first time, a ferromagnetic-like spin-glass behaviour of uncapped nanosized Au islands tens of nanometres in size. The flattening kinetics of the nanocluster deposition on thiol SAMs are shown to be mediated mainly by the thiol terminal group, as well as the deposition energy and the particle size distribution. On the other hand, a new mechanism for the penetration of the deposited nanoclusters through the monolayers is presented, which is fundamentally different from those reported for atom deposition on alkanethiols. The impinging cluster is shown to compress the thiol layer against the Au surface and subsequently intercalate at the thiol-Au interface. The compressed thiols try then to straighten and push the cluster away from the surface. Depending on the cluster size, this restoring force may or may not enable a covalent cluster-surface bond formation, giving rise to various cluster-surface binding patterns. Compression and straightening of the thiol molecules pinpoint the elastic nature of the SAMs, which has been investigated in this thesis using nanoindentation. The nanoindenation method has been applied to SAMs of varied tail groups, giving insight into the mechanical properties of thiol modified metal surfaces.