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Investigation of Au SAMs Photoclick Derivatization by PM-IRRAS

submitted on 10.12.2019 and posted on 19.12.2019 by Mark Workentin, François Lagugné-Labarthet, Sidney Legge
In this work we present a clean one-step process for modifying headgroups of self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) on gold using photo-enabled click chemistry. A thiolated, cyclopropenone-caged strained alkyne precursor was first functionalized onto a flat gold substrate through self-assembly. Exposure of the cyclopropenone SAM to UV-A light initiated the efficient photochemical decarbonylation of the cyclopropenone moiety, revealing the strained alkyne capable of undergoing the interfacial strain-promoted alkyne-azide cycloaddition (SPAAC). Irradiated SAMs were derivatized with a series of model azides with varied hydrophobicity to demonstrate the generality of this chemical system for the modification and fine-tuning of the surface chemistry on gold substrates. SAMs were characterized at each step with polarization-modulation infrared reflection-absorption spectroscopy (PM-IRRAS) to confirm successful functionalization and reactivity. Furthermore, to showcase the compatibility of this approach with biochemical applications, cyclopropenone SAMs were irradiated and modified with azide-bearing cell adhesion peptides to promote human fibroblast cell adhesion, then imaged by live cell fluorescence microscopy. Thus, the “photoclick” methodology reported here represents an improved, versatile, catalyst-free protocol that allows for a high degree of control over the modification of material surfaces, with applicability in materials science as well as biochemistry.


Email Address of Submitting Author


The University of Western Ontario



ORCID For Submitting Author


Declaration of Conflict of Interest


Version Notes

Submitted to Langmuir


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