Structural and electrical characterization of organic monolayers by Atomic Force Microscopy and through the nano-fabrication of a coplanar electrode-dielectric platform
Correlating structural and electrical properties of organic thin films is a key requirement to understand charge transport in these materials. The electrical conductivity of organic films should be strongly dependent on how the molecules arrange to form films and crystals. Here we report on the structural and electrical characterization of organic monolayers by Atomic Force Microscopy and through the nano-fabrication of a coplanar electrode-dielectric platform.
Organic monolayers were prepared using the solution-based Langmuir-Blodgett technique and transferred to a variety of substrates. Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) was used to analyze the morphology and the microstructure of ultra-thin films at high resolution while electron diffraction measurements were instrumental in determining the lattice and orientation of crystalline domains within monolayers.
A novel Conducting probe AFM method based on the presence of an insulating oxide layer between an organic film and a conductive silicon substrate made it possible to probe the in-plane electrical conductivity in the film. With this technique, we were able to investigate the correlation between conduction properties of oligothiophene monolayers and structural factors such as their molecular order and their lattice orientation.
In order to make electrical contacts with monolayer films and study them in a Field Effect Transistor (FET) configuration, we developed coplanar electrode-dielectric substrates with roughness and surface topography in the sub-nanometer range. We present the first results on the electrical characterization of monolayers with this device which demonstrate that the coplanar geometry leads to a contact resistance by orders of magnitude lower than that found in conventional 20nm thick electrodes.