On the Role of Collective Electrostatic Effects in Electronic Level Pinning and Work Function Changes by Molecular Adlayers: The Case of Partially Fluorinated DNTTs Adsorbed Flat-Lying on Various Metals and Hetero-Structures – Publication by A2 (Witte) and A8 (Koert)

In a new publication in Advanced Materials Interfaces, the groups of Gregor Witte (A2), Ulrich Koert (A8) as well as Jérôme Cornil from the University of Mons report on the formation of an internal interface dipole at a metal/2D metal/organic hetero-interface, which can be modified by the outer organic monolayer.

Schematic representation of the outer and internal interface dipoles at the FxDNTT/cesium/copper hetero-interface (Image: Maximilian Dreher, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).

The use of organic contact layers is a versatile tool to control the work function of metal electrodes. While partial fluorination of robust organic molecules leads to a significant shift of their frontier energy levels in the isolated molecules, this effect can be wiped out for organic films adsorbed on high work function metal substrates leading to an equalization of the corresponding HOMO levels. Consequently, also the work function shift is equalized in the condensed phase, which is often referred to as HOMO (resp. LUMO) level pinning. Especially the LUMO level pinning has been reported only on a theoretical level in literature yet.

By using partially fluorinated DNTTs, which were synthesized by project A8 and exhibit such a HOMO level pinning on high work function noble metals, the group of Jérôme Cornil (Mons, Belgium) demonstrated that a LUMO level pinning also exists on low work function Cs(110) surfaces on a theoretical level. To face low work function surfaces experimentally, Maximilian Dreher and coworkers used atomically thin cesium layers that grow epitaxial on Cu(100) single crystals and provide more inert, low work function surfaces. In contrast to the expectation, this copper/cesium/organic hetero-stack reveals no LUMO pinning effect. Complementary DFT calculations demonstrate, that the contributions prevailing on the work function shift can be separated into (i) an outer interface dipole between the organic layer and the 2D cesium layer and (ii) an inner, buried interface dipole at the metal/cesium interface. While the outer interface dipole is again equalized for the different FxDNTT species, the buried interface dipole is modulated dependent on the degree of fluorination of the molecules.

Such a sandwich hetero-interface provides new possibilities to effectively tailor contact layers between metal electrodes and active organic layers improving their energy level alignment and emphasizes the importance of internal interfaces.


M. Dreher, D. Cornil, M. W. Tripp, U. Koert, J. Cornil, G. Witte
On the Role of Collective Electrostatic Effects in Electronic Level Pinning and Work Function Changes by Molecular Adlayers: The Case of Partially Fluorinated DNTTs Adsorbed Flat-Lying on Various Metals and Hetero-Structures
Adv. Mater. Interfaces (2022) DOI:10.1002/admi.202200361


Prof. Dr. Gregor Witte
Philipps-Universität Marburg
SFB 1083 project A2
Tel.: 06421 28-21384

German Science and Humanities Council recommends research building for materials sciences

A research building together with a modern transmission electron microscope will be established on the Lahnberge campus of Philipps-University Marburg

Dr. Andreas Beyer, a researcher in SFB 1083, operates a Transmission Electron Microscope, which provides important insights in the development of new materials.

On the Lahnberge Campus, a new research building for a transmission electron microscope for the investigation of novel materials will be established. The German Science and Humanities Council gave its recommendation for the project, which is called ATEMMA (Advanced Transmission Electron Microscopy, Marburg). ATEMMA comprises a volume of 10 Mio €. This is divided into 4 Mio € for the building itself as well as 6 Mio € for the new (S)TEM.

ATEMMA strengthens the focus on material sciences and especially on interfaces at the Philipps-University Marburg and paves the way for high-quality research, e.g., on new materials used for communication and energy technologies, as these represent extremely important topics in our today’s society. The new research lab combines structural characterization with the development of new methods. This combination will boost the research on novel materials also with respect to device applications.

ATEMMA will be used jointly by different groups from physics, chemistry and material sciences distributed over the Philipps-University Marburg as well as Justus-Liebig-University Giessen and the Forschungscampus Mittelhessen. Several of the groups are also part of the SFB 1083, highlighting the importance of interface-related research for ATEMMA.

For further information, please see the press release by the Philipps-Universität Marburg (in German).


Prof. Dr. Kerstin Volz
Department of Physics and Materials Science Center
Philipps-Universität Marburg
Tel.: 06421 28-22297

Dr. Gerson Mette (B5) completed his habilitation at the Philipps-University Marburg

We congratulate Dr. Gerson Mette, former PI of SFB project B5, on completing his habilitation in experimental physics at the Philipps-University Marburg.

Dr. Gerson Mette studied physics at the Philipps-University Marburg and finished his PhD in the group of Prof. Höfer in 2012. After working as a postdoc at the University of Zurich for two years, he went back to Marburg and became a research associate in 2015 while simultaneously joining the SFB 1083 as a young researcher and co-PI of project B5.

With his broad background in surface science and laser spectroscopy, he has set up new SHG imaging microscopy for pump-probe experiments of van der Waals heterostructures and explored the dynamics of charge-transfer processes across interfaces of 2D materials in well-defined environments. Furthermore, he explored the influence of electronic interface states on the ultrafast charge-transfer at buried GaP/Si interfaces.

In February 2022 he gave his habilitation talk on “How big is the proton? The proton radius puzzle” and completed his habilitation in experimental physics. The members of the SFB thank Dr. Mette for his work and commitment for the SFB 1083 and wish him all the best on his future career path.