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Ordering of air-oxidized decanethiols on Au(111)
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Self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) of alkanethiols on gold are a commonly used platform for nanotechnology owing to their ease of preparation and high surface coverage. Unfortunately, the gold-sulfur bond is oxidized at ambient conditions which alters the stability and structure of the monolayer. We show using scanning tunneling microscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy that decanethiolate molecules oxidize into decanesulfonates that organize into a hitherto unknown striped phase. Air-exposed SAMs oxidize, as can be determined by a shift of the S 2p peak and the appearance of O 1s photoelectrons as part of the decanethiol monolayer transforms into a lamellae-like decanesulfonate structure when exposed to air. The herringbone structure of the Au(111) surface is preserved, indicating that the interaction between the molecules and the surface is rather weak as these findings are substantiated by density functional theory calculations.