Silicon wafers both without and with silicon(IV) oxide surface coverage were covered with benzene solutions of stable organic radical 3-(N-tert-butyl-N-aminoxyl)benzoic acid (mNBA). X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy supported the presence of the radical on both surface-cleaned (oxide-reduced) and oxide-covered surfaces. Optical waveguide spectroscopy showed that the radical retained its structure while adsorbed to the surface of the wafers, without noticeable decomposition. AFM and MFM imaging showed that the radical formed blocky particles with a change in rms roughness from 0.3 nm premodification to 1.7 nm postmodification on the surface-cleaned silicon. Similar experiments using oxide-coated silicon showed that the radical adsorbed to form much smoother layers, with a small change in rms roughness from 0.2 to 0.3 nm. Contact angle measurements of water on the premodified and postmodified samples showed a large, hydrophobic change in the silicon oxide surface but only a modest change in the surface-cleaned silicon surface. Samples of mNBA adsorbed onto silica gel showed strong electron-spin resonance signals from the aminoxyl spin, even years after production. The results demonstrate the prospects for treating and coating oxide-covered silicon wafers and silicon oxide-coated particles with a paramagnetically active organic substrate, without major chemical modification of the pretreatment surface; the resulting organic spin sites can be stable for years.
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