Sulfonation of alkyl phenyl ether self-assembled monolayers

Langmuir. 2010 Feb 2;26(3):1765-75. doi: 10.1021/la902093x.


The sulfonation of phenyl ether decorated self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) was studied with an eye toward creating surfaces with a particularly high negative charge density based on a close-packed array of phenyl rings with more than one sulfonic acid group per molecule. The product distribution and kinetics of this process were studied by ultraviolet, infrared, and photoelectron spectroscopies and by monitoring changes in the thickness and wetting properties of the SAM. The sulfonation chemistry could be effected without undermining monolayer integrity and the isomer distribution of ortho- and para-monosulfonated material, along with the percentages of mono- and disulfonated molecules could be established throughout the process. As doubly sulfonated molecules appeared, the reaction slowed drastically. Ultimately, sulfonation stops completely with approximately 60% of the molecules disulfonated and 20% each of the two monosulfonated isomers. This striking constraint on monolayer reactivity and the relationship between the surface chemistry and variations in SAM structure are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anisoles / chemistry
  • Isomerism
  • Kinetics
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Phenyl Ethers / chemistry*
  • Spectrum Analysis
  • Sulfonic Acids / chemistry*


  • Anisoles
  • Phenyl Ethers
  • Sulfonic Acids
  • anisole