Electron tunneling through a self-adsorbed monolayer of fatty acids on Al/AlOx substrate

Serge Gauvin, Roger M. Leblanc

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Electron tunneling through saturated fatty acids acids sandwiched between metallic electrodes was studied. The components of the junction were Al/AlOx/Cn/Pb, where Cn is a fatty acid self-adsorbed monomolecular film containing n carbon atoms (n = 6, ..., 24). Our investigation is original compared to previous work because the quality parameter (Q) was defined to ascertain that electron tunneling is the dominating conduction mechanism between the electrodes. Our results indicate that for n > 10, electron tunneling dominates only if metallic paths are present through the monolayer. Moreover, the conductivity for monolayers with n > 10, without metallic paths is independent of electrode spacing. Thus, bulk conduction mechanisms through fatty acid self-adsorbed monolayers with n > 10 are not dominated by electron tunneling. By extrapolation to Q = 0, the maximum aluminium oxide thickness through which tunneling can be detected is estimated to be 66 ± 12 Å. Inelastic electron tunneling spectroscopic investigations suggest that short chain fatty acid self-adsorbed monolayers are disorderd whereas for long chain molecules, the attractive intermolecular interaction CH2···CH2 is large, leading to the formation of highly ordered monolayers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)508-511
Number of pages4
JournalThin Solid Films
Issue numberPART 2
StatePublished - Apr 30 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Materials Chemistry


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