Density functional theory calculations are used to investigate the electronic structure of pyridine-based self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) on an Au(111) surface. We find that, when using pyridine docking groups, the bonding-induced charge rearrangements are frequently found to extend well onto the molecular backbone. This is in contrast to previous observations for the chemisorption of other SAMs, e.g., organic thiolates on gold, and can be explained by a pinning of the lowest unoccupied states of the SAM at the metal Fermi-level. The details of the pinning process, especially the parts of the molecules most affected by the charge rearrangements, strongly depend on the length of the molecular backbone and the tail-group substituent. We also mention methodological shortcomings of conventional density functional theory that can impact the quantitative details regarding the circumstances under which pinning occurs and highlight a number of peculiarities associated with bond dipoles that arise from Fermi-level pinning.
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