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Growing Ultra-flat Organic Films on Graphene with a Face-on Stacking via Moderate Molecule-Substrate Interaction

The electronic properties of small molecule organic crystals depend heavily on the molecular orientation. For multi-layer organic photovoltaics, it is desirable for the molecules to have a face-on orientation in order to enhance the out-of-plane transport properties. However, it is challenging to grow well-ordered and smooth films with a face-on stacking on conventional substrates such as metals and oxides. In this work, metal-phthalocyanine molecules is used as a model system to demonstrate that two-dimensional crystals such as graphene can serve as a template for growing high quality, ultra-flat organic films with a face-on orientation. Furthermore, the molecule-substrate interaction is varied systematically from strong to weak interaction regime with the interaction strength characterized by ultrafast electron transfer measurements. We find that in order to achieve the optimum orientation and morphology, the molecule-substrate interaction needs to be strong enough to ensure a face-on stacking while it needs to be weak enough to avoid film roughening.

Nature Scientific Reports, Vol. 6, 28895, 2016

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Authors: 
Wang*, Ti; Kafle*, Tika R.; Kattel*, Bhupal; Liu*, Qingfeng; Wu*, Judy; Chan*, Wai-Lun * KU Authors