Poly(ferrocenyldimethylsilanes), composed of alternating ferrocene and dimethylsilane units in their main chain and featuring a thiol end group, were self-assembled to redox-active monolayers on gold. Electrochemical atomic force microscopy was employed to study the morphology of the monolayers as a function of the applied potential in situ. Surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy and spectroscopic ellipsometry measurements, performed under electrochemical control, indicated thickness changes of up to 15% upon oxidizing and reducing the surface-grafted polymers. X-ray reflectivity measurements unambiguously showed a thickness increase upon electrochemical oxidation of the monolayers. The reversible thickness change was attributed to stretching of the polymer chains upon oxidation due to an increase in charge density and to the attraction of counterions and associated solvent molecules, which are released when the polymer film is reduced to its neutral state.
Peter, M., Hempenius, M. A., Kooij, E. S., Jenkins, T. A., Roser, S. J., Knoll, W., & Vancso, G. J. (2004). Electrochemically induced morphology and volume changes in surface-grafted poly(ferrocenyldimethylsilane) monolayers. Langmuir, 20(3), 891-897. https://doi.org/10.1021/la035656v