The adsorption behavior of 1,4-benzenedithiol (1,4-BDT) on colloidal gold and silver surfaces has been investigated by means of surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS). 1,4-BDT chemisorbed dissociatively on both gold and silver surfaces but as mono- and dithiolate, respectively. Regardless of the bulk concentration of 1,4-BDT, only a monolayer was assembled on the silver surface with a flat orientation by forming two Ag-S bonds. On the gold surface, the monothiolate species, 1,4-BDT-1, appeared to assume a rather flat orientation at a very low surface coverage, but as the surface coverage was increased, the adsorbate took a perpendicular orientation. Furthermore, when the bulk concentration of 1,4-BDT was close to that required for a full-monolayer coverage limit, a band assignable to the S-S stretching vibration appeared at similar to 536 cm(-1) in the gold sol SERS spectra. A separate ellipsometry measurement performed with vacuum-evaporated gold substrates revealed that up to tetralayers could be assembled on gold in 1 mM n-hexane solution of 1,4-BDT while at best a bilayer formed in either methanol or ethanol solution. The different adsorbate structure of 1,4-BDT on gold and silver was overall quite comparable to that of p-xylene-alpha,alpha ' -dithiol. (C) 2001 Academic Press.