Future prospects for superior new organic electronic devices are brighter now thanks to a new study by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). Working at the Lab's Molecular Foundry, a DOE nanoscience center, the team has provided the first experimental determination of the pathways by which electrical charge is transported from molecule-to-molecule in an organic thin film. Their results also show how such organic films can be chemically modified to improve conductance.
"We have shown that when the molecules in organic thin films are aligned in particular directions, there is much better conductance," says Miquel Salmeron, a leading authority on nanoscale surface imaging who directs Berkeley Lab's Materials Sciences Division and who led this study. "Chemists already know how to fabricate organic thin films in a way that can achieve such an alignment, which means they should be able to use the information provided by our methodology to determine the molecular alignment and its role on charge transport across and along the molecules. This will help improve the performances of future organic electronic devices."
Salmeron and Shaul Aloni, also of the Materials Sciences Division, are the corresponding authors of a paper in the journal Nano Letters that describes this work. The paper is titled "Electron Microscopy Reveals Structure and Morphology of One Molecule Thin Organic Films." Other co-authors were Virginia Altoe, Florent Martin and Allard Katan.
Organic electronics, also known as plastic or polymer electronics, are devices that utilize carbon-based molecules as conductors rather than metals or semiconductors. They are prized for their low costs, light weight and rubbery flexibility. Organic electronics are also expected to play a big role in molecular computing, but to date their use has been hampered by low electrical conductance in comparison to metals and
|Contact: Lynn Yarris|
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory