The self-assembly of 1,4-benzenedimethanethiol on Au(1 1 1), at low concentration in water and in hexane which are respectively polar and non-polar solvent, has been studied by scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). The data reveal that, on clean Au(1 1 1), a complete and ordered self-assembled monolayer (SAM) of lying-down dithiols can form within a few seconds in water. While in hexane the adsorption is initially impeded by the rapid growth of an ordered hexane film that is gradually replaced by disordered domains of dithiol until completion of a saturated monolayer. Complemented by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy measurements, the STM images resolve the progression of the self-assembly in both these polar and non-polar solvent, and highlight how the self-assembly depends on the trio solvent, dithiol, and substrate. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.