Growth of a self-assembled monolayer by fractal aggregation

D. K. Schwartz, S. Steinberg, J. Israelachvili, J. A.N. Zasadzinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

236 Scopus citations


Atomic force microscope images show that self-assembled monolayers of octadecyltrichlorosilane form on mica by nucleating isolated, self-similar domains. With increasing coverage, the fractal dimension of the growing domains evolves from 1.6 to 1.8. At higher coverage, continued growth is limited by adsorption from solution. Monte Carlo simulations that include, for the first time, adsorption as well as surface diffusion qualitatively reproduce both the growth kinetics and evolution of fractal structure, much better than a two-dimensional diffusion-limited-aggregation model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3354-3357
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number23
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes


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