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Ultrasonic force microscopy: Detection and imaging of ultra-thin molecular domains

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date03/2011
JournalUltramicroscopy
Journal number4
Volume111
Number of pages6
Pages267-272
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The analysis of the formation of ultra-thin organic films is a very important issue. In fact, it is known that the properties of organic light emitting diodes and field effect transistors are strongly affected by the early growth stages. For instance, in the case of sexithiophene, the presence of domains made of molecules with the backbone parallel to the substrate surface has been indirectly evidenced by photoluminescence spectroscopy and confocal microscopy. On the contrary, conventional scanning force microscopy both in contact and intermittent contact modes have failed to detect such domains. In this paper, we show that Ultrasonic Force Microscopy (UFM), sensitive to nanomechanical properties, allows one to directly identify the structure of sub-monolayer thick films. Sexithiophene flat domains have been imaged for the first time with nanometer scale spatial resolution. A comparison with lateral force and intermittent contact modes has been carried out in order to explain the origins of the UFM contrast and its advantages. In particular, it indicates that UFM is highly suitable for investigations where high sensitivity to material properties, low specimen damage and high spatial resolution are required. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.