Chiral 'pinwheels' self-assembled from C60 and pentacene

Apr 10, 2013
Calculated map of the electron density changes due to the heterojunction showing electron transfer to the C60 in the center.

In a recent study from the Electronic & Magnetic Materials & Devices and Theory & Modeling groups at the Argonne National Laboratory, C60 and pentacene (Pn) molecules, two workhorses of organic electronics and opto-electronics, are observed to self-assemble on a Cu(111) surface into in-plane "pinwheel"-shaped and chiral heterojunctions. Calculations confirm that the heterostructures are energetically favorable conformations and reveal electron charge transfer from the Pn to the C60 in this chiral morphology, a critical signature of electronic heterojunctions.

The demonstration that these highly symmetric acceptor and donor molecules, which are widely used in organic electronics and photovoltaics, form chiral structures suggests a potential path to integrating chiral selectivity with optical absorption and charge separation, even with highly symmetric achiral . Studies in an ultrahigh vacuum (UHV) system with surface preparation and scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) capabilities were critical to characterizing the self-assembled systems at the atomic scale in an ultraclean environment. In addition, the computing cluster "Carbon" supported density functional theory calculations with van der Waals corrections on these complex structures.

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More information: Smerdon, J. et al. Chiral 'Pinwheel' Heterojunctions Self-Assembled from C60 and Pentacene, ACS Nano, ASAP (2013). pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nn304992c

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