Molecules making molecules

Penn State chemists have produced a new type of thin film that could allow chemists to build smaller electronic and sensing devices. According to Paul Weiss, monolayers with weak intermolecular interactions can act as placeholders for the intelligent self-assembly or directed assembly of molecular-scale structures. His team's 1-adamantanethiol on Au{111} layers can be exploited to enhance patterning in soft nanolithography. The layers have fewer defects than earlier monolayers and so could be used to accurately protect volatile or reactive surfaces and can then be removed easily before the next fabrication step is started. The researchers are currently attempting to exploit displacement in this manner.