'Seeing' molecular interactions could give boost to organic electronics

July 28, 2015, Kyoto University
For the first time, researchers have directly seen how organic molecules bind to other materials at the atomic level. Using a special kind of electron microscopy, this information can lead to increasing the life span of electronic devices, for example. Credit: Kyoto University's Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS)

Organic materials are increasingly being applied in cutting-edge technologies. Organic semiconductors, for example, are being used to develop paper-thin, plastic LED screens.

Materials scientists need to understand the structures and of organic materials at the atomic level to optimize the efficiency and increase the of devices that incorporate them.

Previously used techniques for this purpose have had their limitations although high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HR-TEM) has recently successfully been used to visualize the structures, movements and reactions of single, small organic molecules.

Now, for the first time, a team of researchers from Kyoto University's Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS) and Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology together with colleagues from Finland's Tampere University of Technology has successfully used HR-TEM to visualize a certain type of organic molecular interaction at the .

They linked pyrene, a hydrocarbon composed of four flat benzene rings, to a that the researchers used as a scaffold for this purpose. They then used HR-TEM to see the link.

High-resolution transmission electron microscopy can be used to visualize a certain type of organic molecular interaction at the atomic level. Credit: Kyoto University's Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS)
"This same methodology can be used to study any organic molecules that contain an aryl group," says Tomokazu Umeyama, the study's lead investigator. An aryl group is a group of atoms derived from benzene by removing a hydrogen atom. "The methodology has the potential to provide indispensible information regarding molecular interactions," he says.

The study was published on July 15, 2015 in Nature Communications.

Explore further: Spintronics—molecules stabilizing magnetism

More information: Molecular interactions on single-walled carbon nanotubes revealed by high-resolution transmission microscopy, www.nature.com/ncomms/2015/150 … full/ncomms8732.html

Related Stories

Spintronics—molecules stabilizing magnetism

July 21, 2015

Organic molecules allow producing printable electronics and solar cells with extraordinary properties. In spintronics, too, molecules open up the unexpected possibility of controlling the magnetism of materials and, thus, ...

Constructing complex molecules with atomic precision

June 1, 2015

Researchers in Russia have developed a waste-free and cost-effective approach for preparing complex organic molecules and revealing the physical nature of the processes that control the direction of chemical transformations.

Nanomaterial self-assembly imaged in real time

June 8, 2015

A team of researchers from UC San Diego, Florida State University and Pacific Northwest National Laboratories has for the first time visualized the growth of 'nanoscale' chemical complexes in real time, demonstrating that ...

Recommended for you

New algorithm can more quickly predict LED materials

October 22, 2018

Researchers from the University of Houston have devised a new machine learning algorithm that is efficient enough to run on a personal computer and predict the properties of more than 100,000 compounds in search of those ...

Nanodiamonds as photocatalysts

October 19, 2018

Climate change is in full swing and will continue unabated as long as CO2 emissions continue. One possible solution is to return CO2 to the energy cycle: CO2 could be processed with water into methanol, a fuel that can be ...

Producing defectless metal crystals of unprecedented size

October 19, 2018

A research group at the Center for Multidimensional Carbon Materials, within the Institute for Basic Science (IBS), has published an article in Science describing a new method to convert inexpensive polycrystalline metal ...

Shining light on the separation of rare earth metals

October 18, 2018

Inside smartphones and computer displays are metals known as the rare earths. Mining and purifying these metals involves waste- and energy-intense processes. Better processes are needed. Previous work has shown that specific ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.