Surface functionalization is an essential component of most applications of noble-metal surfaces. Thiols and amines are traditionally employed to attach molecules to noble-metal surfaces, but they have limitations. A growing body of research, however, suggests that N-heterocyclic carbenes (NHCs) can be readily employed for surface functionalization with superior chemical stability compared with thiols. We demonstrate the power of surface-enhanced Raman scattering combined with theory to present a comprehensive picture of NHC binding to gold surfaces. In particular, we synthesize a library of NHC isotopologues and use surface-enhanced Raman scattering to record the vibrational spectra of these NHCs while bound to gold surfaces. Our experimental data are compared with first-principles theory, yielding numerous new insights into the binding of NHCs to gold surfaces. In addition to these insights, we expect our approach to be a general method for probing the local surface properties of NHC-functionalized surfaces for their expanding use in sensing applications.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry