Surface equilibration mechanism controls the molecular packing of glassy molecular semiconductors at organic interfaces

Glasses prepared by physical vapor deposition (PVD) are anisotropic, and the average molecular orientation can be varied significantly by controlling the deposition conditions. While previous work has characterized the average structure of thick PVD glasses, most experiments are not sensitive to the structure near an underlying substrate or interface. Given the profound influence of the substrate on the growth of crystalline or liquid crystalline materials, an underlying substrate might be expected to substantially alter the structure of a PVD glass, and this near-interface structure is important for the function of organic electronic devices prepared by PVD, such as organic light-emitting diodes. To study molecular packing near buried organic–organic interfaces, we prepare superlattice structures (stacks of 5- or 10-nm layers) of organic semiconductors, Alq3 (Tris-(8-hydroxyquinoline)aluminum) and DSA-Ph (1,4-di-[4-(N,N-diphenyl)amino]styrylbenzene), using PVD. Superlattice structures significantly increase the fraction of the films near buried interfaces, thereby allowing for quantitative characterization of interfacial packing. Remarkably, both X-ray scattering and spectroscopic ellipsometry indicate that the substrate exerts a negligible influence on PVD glass structure. Thus, the surface equilibration mechanism previously advanced for thick films can successfully describe PVD glass structure even within the first monolayer of deposition on an organic substrate.

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NSF-PAR ID:
10306638
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Volume:
118
Issue:
42
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Article No. e2111988118
ISSN:
0027-8424
Publisher:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
4. When aged below the glass transition temperature,$Tg$, the density of a glass cannot exceed that of the metastable supercooled liquid (SCL) state, unless crystals are nucleated. The only exception is when another polyamorphic SCL state exists, with a density higher than that of the ordinary SCL. Experimentally, such polyamorphic states and their corresponding liquid–liquid phase transitions have only been observed in network-forming systems or those with polymorphic crystalline states. In otherwise simple liquids, such phase transitions have not been observed, either in aged or vapor-deposited stable glasses, even near the Kauzmann temperature. Here, we report that the density of thin vapor-deposited films ofN,N′-bis(3-methylphenyl)-N,N′-diphenylbenzidine (TPD) can exceed their corresponding SCL density by as much as 3.5% and can even exceed the crystal density under certain deposition conditions. We identify a previously unidentified high-density supercooled liquid (HD-SCL) phase with a liquid–liquid phase transition temperature ($TLL$) ∼35 K below the nominal glass transition temperature of the ordinary SCL. The HD-SCL state is observed in glasses deposited in the thickness range of 25 to 55 nm, where thin films of the ordinary SCL have exceptionally enhanced surface mobility with large mobility gradients. The enhanced mobility enables vapor-depositedmore »