Oxide and carbide formation at titanium/organic monolayer interfaces. Academic Article uri icon


  • X-ray photoelectron spectra (XPS) are reported from a series of buried titanium/organic monolayer interfaces accessed through sample delamination in ultrahigh vacuum (UHV). Conventional characterization of such buried interfaces requires ion-mill depth profiling, an energetic process that frequently destroys bonding information by chemically reducing the milled material. In contrast, we show that delaminating the samples at the metal/organic interface in vacuum yields sharp, nonreduced spectra that allow quantitative analysis of the buried interface chemistry. Using this UHV delamination XPS, we examine titanium vapor deposited onto a C18 cadmium stearate Langmuir-Blodgett monolayer supported on Au, SiO2, or PtO2 substrates. Titanium is widely used as an adhesion layer in organic thick film metallization as well as a top metal contact for molecular monolayer junctions, where it has been assumed to form a few-atoms-thick Ti carbide overlayer. We establish here that under many conditions the titanium instead forms a few-nanometers-thick Ti oxide overlayer. Both TiO2 and reduced TiOx species exist, with the relative proportion depending on oxygen availability. Oxygen is gettered during deposition from the ambient, from the organic film, and remarkably, from the substrate itself, producing substrate-dependent amounts of Ti oxide and Ti carbide "damage". On Au substrates, up to 20% of the molecular-monolayer carbon formed titanium carbide, SiO2 substrates approximately 15%, and PtO2 substrates <5%. Titanium oxide formation is also strongly dependent on the deposition rate and chamber pressure.

published proceedings

  • J Am Chem Soc

author list (cited authors)

  • Blackstock, J. J., Donley, C. L., Stickle, W. F., Ohlberg, D., Yang, J. J., Stewart, D. R., & Williams, R. S.

citation count

  • 31

complete list of authors

  • Blackstock, Jason J||Donley, Carrie L||Stickle, William F||Ohlberg, Douglas AA||Yang, J Joshua||Stewart, Duncan R||Williams, R Stanley

publication date

  • March 2008