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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Diffraction imaging of nanocrystalline structures in organic semiconductor molecular thin films.

  • Author(s): Panova, Ouliana
  • Ophus, Colin
  • Takacs, Christopher J
  • Bustillo, Karen C
  • Balhorn, Luke
  • Salleo, Alberto
  • Balsara, Nitash
  • Minor, Andrew M
  • et al.

The properties of organic solids depend on their structure and morphology, yet direct imaging using conventional electron microscopy methods is hampered by the complex internal structure of these materials and their sensitivity to electron beams. Here, we manage to observe the nanocrystalline structure of two organic molecular thin-film systems using transmission electron microscopy by employing a scanning nanodiffraction method that allows for full access to reciprocal space over the size of a spatially localized probe (~2 nm). The morphologies revealed by this technique vary from grains with pronounced segmentation of the structure-characterized by sharp grain boundaries and overlapping domains-to liquid-crystal structures with crystalline orientations varying smoothly over all possible rotations that contain disclinations representing singularities in the director field. The results show how structure-property relationships can be visualized in organic systems using techniques previously only available for hard materials such as metals and ceramics.

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