Dr. Philipp HurdaxPhD Student Karl-Franzens-Universität GrazInstitute of Physics – Surface Science
P. Hurdax, C. S. Kern, T. G. Boné, A. Haags, M. Hollerer, L. Egger, X. Yang, H. Kirschner, A. Gottwald, M. Richter, F. C. Bocquet, S. Soubatch, G. Koller, F. S. Tautz, M. Sterrer, P. Puschnig, M. G. Ramsey
In: ACS Nano, vol. 16, pp. 17435-17443, 2022.
Polycyclic aromatic compounds with fused benzene rings offer an extraordinary versatility as next-generation organic semiconducting materials for nanoelectronics and optoelectronics due to their tunable characteristics, including charge-carrier mobility and optical absorption. Nonplanarity can be an additional parameter to customize their electronic and optical properties without changing the aromatic core. In this work, we report a combined experimental and theoretical study in which we directly observe large, geometry-induced modifications in the frontier orbitals of a prototypical dye molecule when adsorbed on an atomically thin dielectric interlayer on a metallic substrate. Experimentally, we employ angle-resolved photoemission experiments, interpreted in the framework of the photoemission orbital tomography technique. We demonstrate its sensitivity to detect geometrical bends in adsorbed molecules and highlight the role of the photon energy used in experiment for detecting such geometrical distortions. Theoretically, we conduct density functional calculations to determine the geometric and electronic structure of the adsorbed molecule and simulate the photoemission angular distribution patterns. While we found an overall good agreement between experimental and theoretical data, our results also unveil limitations in current van der Waals corrected density functional approaches for such organic/dielectric interfaces. Hence, photoemission orbital tomography provides a vital experimental benchmark for such systems. By comparison with the state of the same molecule on a metallic substrate, we also offer an explanation why the adsorption on the dielectric induces such large bends in the molecule.
Charge Transfer Across Ultrathin Dielectric Layers: A Controlled Study of the Phenomenon on MgO on Ag(100) PhD Thesis
L. Egger, M. Hollerer, C. S. Kern, H. Herrmann, P. Hurdax, A. Haags, X. Yang, A. Gottwald, M. Richter, S. Soubatch, F. S. Tautz, G. Koller, P. Puschnig, M. G. Ramsey, M. Sterrer
In: Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., vol. 60, pp. 5078-5082, 2021.
Metalation and self-metalation reactions of porphyrins on oxide surfaces have recently gained interest. The mechanism of porphyrin self-metalation on oxides is, however, far from being understood. Herein, we show by a combination of results obtained with scanning tunneling microscopy, photoemission spectroscopy, and DFT computations, that the self-metalation of 2H-tetraphenylporphyrin on the surface of ultrathin MgO(001) films is promoted by charge transfer. By tuning the work function of the MgO(001)/Ag(001) substrate, we are able to control the charge and the metalation state of the porphyrin molecules on the surface.
M. S. Sättele, A. Windischbacher, L. Egger, A. Haags, P. Hurdax, H. Kirschner, A. Gottwald, M. Richter, F. C. Bocquet, S. Soubatch, F. S. Tautz, H. F. Bettinger, H. Peisert, T. Chassé, M. G. Ramsey, P. Puschnig, G. Koller
In: J. Phys. Chem. C, vol. 125, pp. 2918-2925, 2021.
Longer acenes such as heptacene are promising candidates for optoelectronic applications but are unstable in their bulk structure as they tend to dimerize. This makes the growth of well-defined monolayers and films problematic. In this article, we report the successful preparation of a highly oriented monolayer of heptacene on Ag(110) by thermal cycloreversion of diheptacenes. In a combined effort of angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy and density functional theory (DFT) calculations, we characterize the electronic and structural properties of the molecule on the surface in detail. Our investigations allow us to unambiguously confirm the successful fabrication of a highly oriented complete monolayer of heptacene and to describe its electronic structure. By comparing experimental momentum maps of photoemission from frontier orbitals of heptacene and pentacene, we shed light on differences between these two acenes regarding their molecular orientation and energy-level alignment on the metal surfaces.
P. Hurdax, M. Hollerer, P. Puschnig, D. Lüftner, L. Egger, M. G. Ramsey, M. Sterrer
In: Adv. Mater. Interfaces, vol. 7, pp. 2000592, 2020.
Whether intentional or unintentional, thin dielectric interlayers can be found in technologies ranging from catalysis to organic electronics. While originally considered as passive decoupling layers, recently it has been shown that they can actively promote charge transfer from the underlying metal to adsorbates. This charging can have profound effects on the surface chemistry of atoms, atomic clusters, and molecules, their magnetic moments, and charge injection at the contacts of organic devices. Yet, controlled studies required to understand the charge transfer process in depth are still lacking. Here, a comprehensive analysis of the phenomenon of charge transfer using the atomically controlled system of pentacene on ultrathin MgO(100) films on Ag(100) is presented. It is shown that the charge transfer process is governed by the charged and uncharged molecular species with distinct energy levels in the first monolayer. The experimental approach applied in this work allows to observe and control their ratio through direct tuning of either the work function or the thickness of the dielectric interlayer.
P. Hurdax, M. Hollerer, L. Egger, G. Koller, X. Yang, A. Haags, S. Soubatch, F. S. Tautz, M. Richter, A. Gottwald, P. Puschnig, M. Sterrer, M. G. Ramsey
In: Beilstein J. Nanotechnol., vol. 11, pp. 1492-1503, 2020.
Ultrathin dielectric/insulating films on metals are often used as decoupling layers to allow for the study of the electronic properties of adsorbed molecules without electronic interference from the underlying metal substrate. However, the presence of such decoupling layers may effectively change the electron donating properties of the substrate, for example, by lowering its work function and thus enhancing the charging of the molecular adsorbate layer through electron tunneling. Here, an experimental study of the charging of para-sexiphenyl (6P) on ultrathin MgO(100) films supported on Ag(100) is reported. By deliberately changing the work function of the MgO(100)/Ag(100) system, it is shown that the charge transfer (electronic coupling) into the 6P molecules can be controlled, and 6P monolayers with uncharged molecules (Schottky–Mott regime) and charged and uncharged molecules (Fermi level pinning regime) can be obtained. Furthermore, it was found that charge transfer and temperature strongly influence the orientation, conformation, and wetting behavior (physical coupling) of the 6P layers on the MgO(100) thin films.
L. Egger, B. Kollmann, P. Hurdax, D. Lüftner, X. Yang, S. Weiß, A. Gottwald, M. Richter, G. Koller, S. Soubatch, F. S. Tautz, P. Puschnig, M. G. Ramsey
In: New J. Phys., vol. 21, pp. 043003, 2019.
Molecular orbital tomography, also termed photoemission tomography, which considers the final state as a simple plane wave, has been very successful in describing the photoemisson distribution of large adsorbates on noble metal surfaces. Here, following a suggestion by Bradshaw and Woodruff (2015 New J. Phys. 17 013033), we consider a small and strongly-interacting system, benzene adsorbed on palladium (110), to consider the extent of the problems that can arise with the final state simplification. Our angle-resolved photoemission experiments, supported by density functional theory calculations, substantiate and refine the previously determined adsorption geometry and reveal an energetic splitting of the frontier π-orbital due to a symmetry breaking which has remained unnoticed before. We find that, despite the small size of benzene and the comparably strong interaction with palladium, the overall appearance of the photoemission angular distributions can basically be understood within a plane wave final state approximation and yields a deeper understanding of the electronic structure of the interface. There are, however, noticeable deviations between measured and simulated angular patterns which we ascribe to molecule-substrate interactions and effects beyond a plane-wave final state description.
X. Yang, L. Egger, P. Hurdax, H. Kaser, D. Lüftner, F. C. Bocquet, G. Koller, A. Gottwald, P. Tegeder, M. Richter, M. G. Ramsey, P. Puschnig, S. Soubatch, F. S. Tautz
In: Nat. Commun., vol. 10, pp. 3189, 2019.
The determination of reaction pathways and the identification of reaction intermediates are key issues in chemistry. Surface reactions are particularly challenging, since many methods of analytical chemistry are inapplicable at surfaces. Recently, atomic force microscopy has been employed to identify surface reaction intermediates. While providing an excellent insight into the molecular backbone structure, atomic force microscopy is less conclusive about the molecular periphery, where adsorbates tend to react with the substrate. Here we show that photoemission tomography is extremely sensitive to the character of the frontier orbitals. Specifically, hydrogen abstraction at the molecular periphery is easily detected, and the precise nature of the reaction intermediates can be determined. This is illustrated with the thermally induced reaction of dibromo-bianthracene to graphene which is shown to proceed via a fully hydrogenated bisanthene intermediate. We anticipate that photoemission tomography will become a powerful companion to other techniques in the study of surface reaction pathways.
X. Yang, L. Egger, J. Fuchsberger, M. Unzog, D. Lüftner, F. Hajek, P. Hurdax, M. Jugovac, G. Zamborlini, V. Feyer, G. Koller, P. Puschnig, F. S. Tautz, M. G. Ramsey, S. Soubatch
In: J. Phys. Chem. Lett., vol. 10, pp. 6438-6445, 2019.
The electronic and geometric structures of tetracene films on Ag(110) and Cu(110) have been studied with photoemission tomography and compared to that of pentacene. Despite similar energy level alignment of the two oligoacenes on these surfaces revealed by conventional ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopy, the momentum-space resolved photoemission tomography reveals a significant difference in both structural and electronic properties of tetracene and pentacene films. Particularly, the saturated monolayer of tetracene on Ag(110) is found to consist of two molecular species that, despite having the same orientation, are electronically very different—while one molecule remains neutral, another is charged because of electron donation from the substrate.
X. Yang, I. Krieger, D. Lüftner, S. Weiß, T. Heepenstrick, M. Hollerer, P. Hurdax, G. Koller, M. Sokolowski, P. Puschnig, M. G. Ramsey, F. S. Tautz, S. Soubatch
On the decoupling of molecules at metal surfaces Journal Article
In: Chem. Commun., vol. 54, pp. 9039-9042, 2018.
We report a method to achieve physical and electronic decoupling of organic molecules from a metal surface. Oxygen adsorbed on the Cu(100) surface immobilizes the surface electrons in the Cu–O covalent bonds. This results in electronic surface hardening and prevents charge transfer from the metal into perylene-tetracarboxylic dianhydride molecules subsequently deposited on this surface.
M. Hollerer, D. Lüftner, P. Hurdax, T. Ules, S. Soubatch, F. S. Tautz, G. Koller, P. Puschnig, M. Sterrer, M. G. Ramsey
In: ACS Nano, vol. 11, pp. 6252-6260, 2017.
It is becoming accepted that ultrathin dielectric layers on metals are not merely passive decoupling layers, but can actively influence orbital energy level alignment and charge transfer at interfaces. As such, they can be important in applications ranging from catalysis to organic electronics. However, the details at the molecular level are still under debate. In this study, we present a comprehensive analysis of the phenomenon of charge transfer promoted by a dielectric interlayer with a comparative study of pentacene adsorbed on Ag(001) with and without an ultrathin MgO interlayer. Using scanning tunneling microscopy and photoemission tomography supported by density functional theory, we are able to identify the orbitals involved and quantify the degree of charge transfer in both cases. Fractional charge transfer occurs for pentacene adsorbed on Ag(001), while the presence of the ultrathin MgO interlayer promotes integer charge transfer with the lowest unoccupied molecular orbital transforming into a singly occupied and singly unoccupied state separated by a large gap around the Fermi energy. Our experimental approach allows a direct access to the individual factors governing the energy level alignment and charge-transfer processes for molecular adsorbates on inorganic substrates.
D. Lüftner, S. Weiß, X. Yang, P. Hurdax, V. Feyer, A. Gottwald, G. Koller, S. Soubatch, P. Puschnig, M. G. Ramsey, F. S. Tautz
In: Phys. Rev. B, vol. 96, pp. 125402, 2017.
Photoemission tomography (PT), the analysis of the photoemission intensity distribution within the plane wave final-state approximation, is being established as a useful tool for extracting the electronic and geometric structure of weakly interacting organic overlayers. Here we present a simple method for extending PT, which until now has been based on the calculations of isolated molecules. By including the substrate and a damped plane-wave final state, we are able to simulate the photoemission intensity distribution of two-dimensional molecular overlayers with both strong intermolecular and molecule-substrate interactions, here demonstrated for the model system 3,4,9,10-perylene-tetracarboxylic dianhydride (PTCDA) on Cu(100). It is shown that the interaction and hybridization of the lowest unoccupied molecular orbital of PTCDA with substrate states leads to its occupation and the formation of a strongly dispersing intermolecular band, whose experimental magnitude of 1.1 eV and k-space periodicity is well reproduced theoretically.
Charge transfer to organic molecules promoted by ultrathin insulating layers on metals Masters Thesis