A new approach for nanoscale covalent functionalization of graphite surfaces employing self-assembled molecular monolayers of n-alkanes as templating masks is presented. Linearly aligned aryl groups with a lateral periodicity of 5 or 7 nm is demonstrated utilizing molecular templates of different lengths. The key feature of this approach is the use of a phase separated solution double layer consisting of a thin organic layer containing template molecules topped by an aqueous layer containing aryldiazonium molecules capable of electrochemical reduction to generate aryl radicals which bring about surface grafting in a linear fashion. This protocol was demonstrated to be applicable to linear grafting of graphene. The present processing described herein opens new molecular frontiers for the realization of rationally designed nanoscale materials.
Read about it in ACS Nano