Functional Molecular Structures on

Complex Oxide Surfaces

(FOR 1878)

The properties of ultra-thin layers of large organic molecules like porphyrins, phthalocyanines, and other tetrapyrroles on oxide and dielectric substrates offer potential applications in the fields of molecular electronics, solar energy conversion, catalysis, sensor development, and biointerfacial engineering. There is one common feature to all application-related research in these areas: The functional organic units constituting the organic films are synthesized with atomic precision but the oxide bonding sites, the interaction mechanisms, and the structure formation processes on the dielectric substrate remain poorly understood at the microscopic level. Some information on the interaction of functional groups with oxide surfaces is available for small molecules but the transfer to larger systems is entirely unexplored from a surface science perspective. Despite the practical relevance of the emerging field of organic/oxide interfaces, it is apparent that, from a surface science point of view, the research area is in its very infancy.

“Our current knowledge ends at the interface”

Toward controlled growth on complex surfaces

The reason for this lack of understanding is the fact that a surface science approach to organic/oxide interfaces is outstandingly challenging, both for experiment and theory. Systematic investigations of the underlying physical and chemical interaction mechanisms require a broad spectrum of complementary expertise. Hence, funCOS developed a systematic strategy addressing the fundamental understanding of functional organic/oxide interfaces.

We chose prototype oxide surfaces as substrates that can be characterized at the atomic level. A broad spectrum of state-of-the-art experimental and theoretical surface science techniques is employed to unravel the interactions and growth mechanism of test molecules of reduced complexity with ideal oxide surfaces and defects. This atomic-level perspective allows us to build complex systems in a controlled fashion. Such systems include nanostructured multicomponent films on nanostructured oxide surfaces, supported nanoparticles, and oxide nanomaterials.