skip to main content

This content will become publicly available on March 3, 2023

Title: Extreme Ultraviolet Reflection-Absorption (XUV-RA) Spectroscopy: Probing Dynamics at Surfaces from a Molecular Perspective
Extreme ultraviolet (XUV) light sources based on high harmonic generation are enabling the development of novel spectroscopic methods to help advance the frontiers of ultrafast science and technology. In this account we discuss the development of XUV-RA spectroscopy at near grazing incident reflection geometry and highlight recent applications of this method to study ultrafast electron dynamics at surfaces. Measuring core-to-valence transitions with broadband, femtosecond pulses of XUV light extends the benefits of x-ray absorption spectroscopy to a laboratory tabletop by providing a chemical fingerprint of materials, including the ability to resolve individual elements with sensitivity to oxidation state, spin state, carrier polarity, and coordination geometry. Combining this chemical state sensitivity with femtosecond time resolution provides new insight into the material properties that govern charge carrier dynamics in complex materials. It is well known that surface dynamics differ significantly from equivalent processes in bulk materials, and that charge separation, trapping, transport, and recombination occurring uniquely at surfaces governs the efficiency of numerous technologically relevant processes spanning photocatalysis, photovoltaics, and information storage and processing. Importantly, XUV-RA spectroscopy at near grazing angle is also surface sensitive with a probe depth of 3 nm, providing a new window into electronic and structural dynamics at surfaces and interfaces. Here we highlight the unique capabilities and recent applications of XUVRA spectroscopy to study photo-induced surface dynamics in metal oxide semiconductors, including photocatalytic oxides (Fe2O3, Co3O4 more » NiO, and CuFeO2) as well as photoswitchable magnetic oxide (CoFe2O4). We first compare the ultrafast electron self-trapping rates via small polaron formation at the surface and bulk of Fe2O3 where we note that the energetics and kinetics of this process differ significantly at the surface. Additionally, we demonstrate the ability to systematically tune this kinetics by molecular functionalization, thereby, providing a route to control carrier transport at surfaces. We also measure the spectral signatures of charge transfer excitons with site specific localization of both electrons and holes in a series of transition metal oxide semiconductors (Fe2O3, NiO, Co3O4). The presence of valence band holes probed at the oxygen L1-edge confirms a direct relationship between the metal-oxygen bond covalency and water oxidation efficiency. For a mixed metal oxide CuFeO2 in the layered delafossite structure, XUV-RA reveals that the sub-picosecond hole thermalization from O 2p to Cu 3d states of CuFeO2 leads to the spatial separation of electrons and holes, resulting in exceptional photocatalytic performance for H2 evolution and CO2 reduction of this material. Finally, we provide an example to show the ability of XUV-RA to probe spin state specific dynamics in a the photo-switchable ferrimagnet, cobalt ferrite (CoFe2O4). This study provides a detailed understating of ultrafast spin switching in a complex magnetic material with site-specific resolution. In summary, the applications of XUV-RA spectroscopy demonstrated here illustrate the current abilities and future promise of this method to extend molecule-level understanding from well-defined photochemical complexes to complex materials so that charge and spin dynamics at surfaces can be tuned with the precision of molecular photochemistry. « less
Authors:
;
Award ID(s):
1935885
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10346601
Journal Name:
Accounts of chemical research
Volume:
55
Issue:
6
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
893-903
ISSN:
1520-4898
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Photoinduced nonequilibrium processes in nanoscale materials play key roles in photovoltaic and photocatalytic applications. This review summarizes recent theoretical investigations of excited state dynamics in metal halide perovskites (MHPs), carried out using a state-of-the-art methodology combining nonadiabatic molecular dynamics with real-time time-dependent density functional theory. The simulations allow one to study evolution of charge carriers at the ab initio level and in the time-domain, in direct connection with time-resolved spectroscopy experiments. Eliminating the need for the common approximations, such as harmonic phonons, a choice of the reaction coordinate, weak electron–phonon coupling, a particular kinetic mechanism, and perturbative calculation of rate constants, we model full-dimensional quantum dynamics of electrons coupled to semiclassical vibrations. We study realistic aspects of material composition and structure and their influence on various nonequilibrium processes, including nonradiative trapping and relaxation of charge carriers, hot carrier cooling and luminescence, Auger-type charge–charge scattering, multiple excitons generation and recombination, charge and energy transfer between donor and acceptor materials, and charge recombination inside individual materials and across donor/acceptor interfaces. These phenomena are illustrated with representative materials and interfaces. Focus is placed on response to external perturbations, formation of point defects and their passivation, mixed stoichiometries, dopants, grain boundaries, and interfaces ofmore »MHPs with charge transport layers, and quantum confinement. In addition to bulk materials, perovskite quantum dots and 2D perovskites with different layer and spacer cation structures, edge passivation, and dielectric screening are discussed. The atomistic insights into excited state dynamics under realistic conditions provide the fundamental understanding needed for design of advanced solar energy and optoelectronic devices.« less
  2. Ultrafast excited state processes of transition metal complexes (TMCs) are governed by complicated interplays between electronic and nuclear dynamics, which demand a detailed understanding to achieve optimal functionalities of photoactive TMC-based materials for many applications. In this work, we investigated a cyclometalated platinum( ii ) dimer known to undergo a Pt–Pt bond contraction in the metal–metal-to-ligand-charge-transfer (MMLCT) excited state using femtosecond broadband transient absorption (fs-BBTA) spectroscopy in combination with geometry optimization and normal mode calculations. Using a sub-20 fs pump and broadband probe pulses in fs-BBTA spectroscopy, we were able to correlate the coherent vibrational wavepacket (CVWP) evolution with the stimulated emission (SE) dynamics of the 1 MMLCT state. The results demonstrated that the 145 cm −1 CVWP motions with the damping times of ∼0.9 ps and ∼2 ps originate from coherent Pt–Pt stretching vibrations in the singlet and triplet MMLCT states, respectively. On the basis of excited state potential energy surface calculations in our previous work, we rationalized that the CVWP transfer from the Franck–Condon (FC) state to the 3 MMLCT state was mediated by a triplet ligand-centered ( 3 LC) intermediate state through two step intersystem crossing (ISC) on a time scale shorter than a period of themore »Pt–Pt stretching wavepacket motions. Moreover, it was found that the CVWP motion had 110 cm −1 frequency decays with the damping time of ∼0.2 ps, matching the time constant of 0.253 ps, corresponding to a redshift in the SE feature at early times. This observation indicates that the Pt–Pt bond contraction changes the stretching frequency from 110 to 145 cm −1 and stabilizes the 1 MMLCT state relative to the 3 LC state with a ∼0.2 ps time scale. Thus, the ultrafast ISC from the 1 MMLCT to the 3 LC states occurs before the Pt–Pt bond shortening. The findings herein provide insight into understanding the impact of Pt–Pt bond contraction on the ultrafast branching of the 1 MMLCT population into the direct ( 1 MMLCT → 3 MMLCT) and indirect ISC pathways ( 1 MMLCT → 3 LC → 3 MMLCT) in the Pt( ii ) dimer. These results revealed intricate excited state electronic and nuclear motions that could steer the reaction pathways with a level of detail that has not been achieved before.« less
  3. Abstract

    Combining two materials in a nanoscale level can create a composite with new functionalities and improvements in their physical and chemical properties. Here we present a high-throughput approach to produce a nanocomposite consisting of metal nanoparticles and semiconductor oxide nanostructures. Volmer-Weber growth, though unfavorable for thin films, promotes nucleation of dense and isolated metal nanoparticles on crystalline oxide nanostructures, resulting in new material properties. We demonstrate such a growth of Au nanoparticles on SnO2nanostructures and a remarkable sensitivity of the nanocomposite for detecting traces of analytes in surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy. Au nanoparticles with tunable size enable us to modify surface wettability and convert hydrophilic oxide surfaces into super-hydrophobic with contact angles over 150°. We also find that charge injection through electron beam exposure shows the same effect as photo-induced charge separation, providing an extra Raman enhancement up to an order of magnitude.

  4. The discovery of oxide electronics is of increasing importance today as one of the most promising new technologies and manufacturing processes for a variety of electronic and optoelectronic applications such as next-generation displays, batteries, solar cells, and photodetectors. The high potential use seen in oxide electronics is due primarily to their high carrier mobilities and their ability to be fabricated at low temperatures. However, since the majority of oxide semiconductors are n-type oxides, current applications are limited to unipolar devices, eventually developing oxide-based bipolar devices such as p-n diodes and complementary metal-oxide semiconductors. We have contributed to wide range of oxide semiconductors and their electronics and optoelectronic device applications. Particularly, we have demonstrated n-type oxide-based thin film transistors (TFT), integrating In2O3-based n-type oxide semiconductors from binary cation materials to ternary cation species including InZnO, InGaZnO (IGZO), and InAlZnO. We have suggested channel/metallization contact strategies to achieve stable TFT performance, identified vacancy-based native defect doping mechanisms, suggested interfacial buffer layers to promote charge injection capability, and established the role of third cation species on the carrier generation and carrier transport. More recently, we have reported facile manufacturing of p-type SnOx through reactive magnetron sputtering from a Sn metal target. The fabricatedmore »p-SnOx was found to be devoid of metallic phase of Sn from x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and demonstrated stable performance in a fully oxide based p-n heterojunction together with n-InGaZnO. The oxide-based p-n junctions exhibited a high rectification ratio greater than 103 at ±3 V, a low saturation current of ~2x10-10, and a small turn-on voltage of -0.5 V. With all the previous achievements and investigations about p-type oxide semiconductors, challenges remain for implementing p-type oxide realization. For the implementation of oxide-based p-n heterojunctions, the performance needs to be further enhanced. The current on/off ration may be limited, in our device structure, due to either high reverse saturation current (or current density) or non-ideal performance. In this study, two rational strategies are suggested to introduce an “intrinsic” layer, which is expected to reduce the reverse saturation current between p-SnOx and n-IGZO and hence increase the on/off ratio. The carrier density of n-IGZO is engineered in-situ during the sputtering process, by which compositionally homogeneous IGZO with significantly reduced carrier density is formed at the interface. Then, higher carrier density IGZO is formed continuously on the lower carrier density IGZO during the sputtering process without any exposure of the sample to the air. Alternatively, heterogeneous oxides of MgO and SiO2 are integrated into between p-SnOx and n-IGZO, by which the defects on the surface can be passivated. The interfacial properties are thoroughly investigated using transmission electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy. The I-V characteristics are compared between the set of devices integrated with two types of “intrinsic” layers. The current research results are expected to contribute to the development of p-type oxides and their industrial application manufacturing process that meets current processing requirements, such as mass production in p-type oxide semiconductors.« less
  5. Conventional electron microscopy during the last three decades has experienced tremendous developments, especially in equipment design and engineering, to become one of the most widely recognized and powerful tools for key research areas in materials science and nanotechnology. In this article, we discuss scanning ultrafast electron microscopy (S-UEM) as a new methodology for four-dimensional electron imaging of material surfaces. We also illustrate a few unique applications . By monitoring secondary electrons emitted from surfaces of photoactive materials, photo- and electron-impact-induced electrons and holes near surfaces, interfaces, and heterojunctions can be imaged with adequate spatial and temporal resolution. Charge separation, transport, and anisotropic motions as well as their dependence on carrier energies can be resolved. S-UEM is poised to directly image and visualize relevant interfacial dynamics in real space and time for emerging optoelectronic devices and help push their performance.