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Energy-level alignment and orbital-selective femtosecond charge transfer dynamics of redox-active molecules on Au, Ag, and Pt metal surfaces

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-08-19, 13:40 authored by Ziyu Zhang, Liang Cao, Xue Chen, DAMIEN THOMPSONDAMIEN THOMPSON, Dong-Chen Qi, Christian A. Nijhuis
Charge transfer (CT) dynamics across metal−molecule interfaces has important implications for performance and function of molecular electronic devices. CT times, on the order of femtoseconds, can be precisely measured using synchrotron-based core-hole clock (CHC) spectroscopy, but little is known about the impact on CT times of the metal work function and the bond dipole created by metals and the anchoring group. To address this, here we measure CT dynamics across self-assembled monolayers bound by thiolate anchoring groups to Ag, Au, and Pt. The molecules have a terminal ferrocene (Fc) group connected by varying numbers of methylene units to a diphenylacetylene (DPA) wire. CT times measured using CHC with resonant photoemission spectroscopy (RPES) show that conjugated DPA wires conduct electricity faster than aliphatic carbon wires of a similar length. Shorter methylene connectors exhibit increased conjugation between Fc and DPA, facilitating CT by providing greater orbital mixing. We find nearly 10-fold increase in the CT time on Pt compared to Ag due to a larger bond dipole generated by partial electron transfer from the metal−sulfur bond to the carbon− sulfur bond, which creates an electrostatic field that impedes CT from the molecules. By fitting the RPES signal, we distinguish electrons coming from the Fe center and from cyclopentadienyl (Cp) rings. The latter shows faster CT rates because of the delocalized Cp orbitals. Our study demonstrates the fine tuning of CT rates across junctions by careful engineering of several parts of the molecule and the molecule−metal interface.



Journal of Physical Chemistry C;125, 33, pp. 18473-18482



Other Funding information

SFI, Irish Centre for High-End Computing (ICHEC), National Natural Science Foundation of China



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