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Title: 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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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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Article No. e2111988118
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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National Science Foundation
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