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Understanding the adsorption behaviour of large organic molecules: A step towards the realisation of molecular electronics

English title Understanding the adsorption behaviour of large organic molecules: A step towards the realisation of molecular electronics
Applicant Fasel Roman
Number 120005
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution EMPA Thun
Institution of higher education Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology - EMPA
Main discipline Condensed Matter Physics
Start/End 01.05.2008 - 31.12.2008
Approved amount 44'547.00
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Keywords (10)

Molecular adsorption; Structural characterisation; Electronic Properties; Molecular conformation; Surface structure; Self-organisation; x-ray photoelectron diffraction; molecular electronics; scanning tunneling microscopy; self-assembly

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
Molecular devices are expected to play a pivotal role for future applications in electronics, optics, sensors, and functional surfaces. However, within a technological context, it is clear that the development of future functional organic/inorganic interfaces is critically dependent on establishing a fundamental understanding of the various bonding and lateral interactions that govern the ultimate orientation, conformation and two-dimensional organisation of complex molecules at a surface.
The conformation of a molecule when adsorbed on a surface ultimately determines its chemical and physical properties. Large molecules adsorbed on a metallic substrate adapt to surface chemistry, corrugation and geometry, displaying different characteristics in response to conditions such as adsorption temperature and adlayer coverage. This range of response is due to the multifunctionality of complex molecules which can lead to a number of surface-molecule and molecule-molecule interactions. These delicately balanced interactions may induce significant distortions which in turn affect the molecule’s overall characteristics.
Control on the properties and performance of a particular molecule/substrate interface presupposes answers to the following questions:
• What is the molecular orientation and conformation at the surface?
• How do the molecules bond to the surface?
• Do the molecules self-organise at the surface to form ordered structures?
• How do these adsorption characteristics vary with coverage and temperature?
The present project addresses these fundamental questions for a selected number of molecule/substrate systems, beginning with moderately large molecules and progressively moving on to larger and more complex organic molecules. By combined structural and electronic characterisation of the adsorbate systems it shall allow to gain an in-depth understanding of the physical and chemical phenomena underlying the complex behaviour of large molecules adsorbed on metal surfaces, with potential impact on the future design of organic/inorganic interfaces with intelligent and sophisticated capabilities.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
103778 Understanding the adsorption behaviour of large organic molecules: A step towards the realisation of molecular electronics 01.05.2005 Project funding (Div. I-III)
121344 PEARL: A new bending-magnet endstation for state-of-the-art X-ray Photoelectron Diffraction combined with Scanning Tunneling Microscopy characterization at the Swiss Light Source 01.10.2009 R'EQUIP
128754 UP-IPAZIA: “UPgrade and full deployment of the Empa/Eawag computational cluster IPAZIA: towards an interdisciplinary on-site resource for computational sciences” 01.04.2010 R'EQUIP