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Local Surface Potential of π-Conjugated Nanostructures by Kelvin Probe Force Microscopy: Effect of the Sampling Depth

Authors

  • Andrea Liscio,

    1. Instituto per la Sintesi Organica e la Fotoreattività-Consiglio, Nazionale delle Ricerche, Via Gobetti 101, I-40129 Bologna, Italy
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  • Vincenzo Palermo,

    Corresponding author
    1. Instituto per la Sintesi Organica e la Fotoreattività-Consiglio, Nazionale delle Ricerche, Via Gobetti 101, I-40129 Bologna, Italy
    • Instituto per la Sintesi Organica e la Fotoreattività-Consiglio, Nazionale delle Ricerche, Via Gobetti 101, I-40129 Bologna, Italy
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  • Oliver Fenwick,

    1. Department of Physics and Astronomy (CMMP Group) and London Centre for Nanotechnology, University College London, Gower Street London WC1E 6BT, UK
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  • Slawomir Braun,

    1. Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Linköping University, 581 83 Linköping, Sweden
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  • Klaus Müllen,

    1. Max-Planck Institute for Polymer Research, Ackermannweg 10, 55124 Mainz, Germany
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  • Mats Fahlman,

    1. Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Linköping University, 581 83 Linköping, Sweden
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  • Franco Cacialli,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Physics and Astronomy (CMMP Group) and London Centre for Nanotechnology, University College London, Gower Street London WC1E 6BT, UK
    • Department of Physics and Astronomy (CMMP Group) and London Centre for Nanotechnology, University College London, Gower Street London WC1E 6BT, UK
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  • Paolo Samorí

    Corresponding author
    1. Nanochemistry Laboratory, ISIS, Université de Strasbourg and CNRS (UMR 7006), 8 allée Gaspard Monge, 67000 Strasbourg, France
    • Nanochemistry Laboratory, ISIS, Université de Strasbourg and CNRS (UMR 7006), 8 allée Gaspard Monge, 67000 Strasbourg, France.
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Abstract

Kelvin probe force microscopy (KPFM) is usually applied to map the local surface potential of nanostructured materials at surfaces and interfaces. KPFM is commonly defined as a ‘surface technique’, even if this assumption is not fully justified. However, a quantification of the surface sensitivity of this technique is crucial to explore electrical properties at the nanoscale. Here a versatile 3D model is presented which provides a quantitative explanation of KPFM results, taking into account the vertical structure of the sample. The model is tested on nanostructured films obtained from two relevant semiconducting systems for field-effect transistor and solar cell applications showing different interfacial properties, i.e., poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) and perylene-bis-dicarboximide (PDI). These findings are especially important since they enable quantitative determination of the local surface potential of conjugated nanostructures, and thereby pave the way towards optimization of the electronic properties of nanoscale architectures for organic electronic applications.

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