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Resonant electronic coupling enabled by small molecules in nanocrystal solids

The future exploitation of the exceptional properties of nanocrystal (NC) thin films deposited from liquid dispersions of nanoparticles relies upon our ability to produce films with improved electrical properties by simple and inexpensive means. Here, we demonstrate that the electronic conduction of solution-processed NC films can be strongly enhanced without the need of postdeposition treatments, via specific molecules adsorbed at the surfaces of adjacent NCs. This effect is demonstrated for Si NC films doped with the strong molecular oxidizing agent tetrafluoro-tetracyanoquinodimethane (F4-TCNQ). Density functional calculations were carried out with molecule-doped superlattice solid models. It is shown that, when populated by electrons, hybrid molecule/NC states edge (and may actually resonate with) the conduction-band states of the NC solid. This provides extra electronic connectivity across the NC network as the molecules effectively flatten the electronic potential barriers for electron transfer across the otherwise vacuum-filled network interstitialcies.

R. N. Pereira, J. Coutinho, S. Niesar, T. A. Oliveira, W. Aigner, H. Wiggers, M. J. Rayson, P. R. Briddon, M. S. Brandt and M. Stutzmann; Nano Letters 14 3817 (2014)

Abstract

The future exploitation of the exceptional properties of nanocrystal (NC) thin films deposited from liquid dispersions of nanoparticles relies upon our ability to produce films with improved electrical properties by simple and inexpensive means. Here, we demonstrate that the electronic conduction of solution-processed NC films can be strongly enhanced without the need of postdeposition treatments, via specific molecules adsorbed at the surfaces of adjacent NCs. This effect is demonstrated for Si NC films doped with the strong molecular oxidizing agent tetrafluoro-tetracyanoquinodimethane (F4-TCNQ). Density functional calculations were carried out with molecule-doped superlattice solid models. It is shown that, when populated by electrons, hybrid molecule/NC states edge (and may actually resonate with) the conduction-band states of the NC solid. This provides extra electronic connectivity across the NC network as the molecules effectively flatten the electronic potential barriers for electron transfer across the otherwise vacuum-filled network interstitialcies.