Competing effects of fluorination on the orientation of aromatic and aliphatic phosphonic acid monolayers on indium tin oxide

Matthew Gliboff, Hong Li, Kristina M. Knesting, Anthony J. Giordano, Dennis Nordlund, Gerald T. Seidler, Jean Luc Brédas, Seth R. Marder, David S. Ginger*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Transparent conductive oxides such as indium tin oxide (ITO) are common substrates for optoelectronic devices, including organic light-emitting diodes and organic solar cells. Tailoring the interface between the oxide and the active layer by adjusting the work function or wettability of the oxide can improve the performance of these devices in both emissive and photovoltaic applications. The use of carefully designed surface modifiers that form self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) can allow the tuning of the surface of one oxide material to optimize its properties for use with a variety of different organic semiconductors or for different applications. Fluorinated phosphonic-acid-based SAMs can affect the interface dipole and the work function of a metal oxide. Fluorination may also affect the molecular packing and the orientation of the SAM once bound to the surface. We utilize angle-dependent near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure (NEXAFS) spectroscopy to determine the molecular orientations of octylphosphonic acid, phenylphosphonic acid, and fluorinated derivatives on ITO and correlate the molecular orientations derived from these studies with predictions from density functional theory (DFT). We account quantitatively for the effect of surface roughness on the measured orientations. We observe that fluorination of the octylphosphonic acid SAM results in a more upright orientation, an effect we attribute to intermolecular forces and increased steric bulk. In contrast, fluorination of the phenylphosphonic acid SAM leads to a less upright orientation that we associate with changes in binding mode.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15139-15147
Number of pages9
Issue number29
StatePublished - Jul 25 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • General Energy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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