Group of Physical Chemistry of Surfaces and Interfaces

The group started up its activity at the ICMAB in 2007. Our research is focused on unraveling and controlling the nanoscale structural and electronic properties of nanostructures and interfaces through surface engineering. Devoting special effort to organic materials, part of our investigation centers on organic semiconductors with relevance as active layers for electronic devices (such as organic solar cells and organic field effect transistors). Surfaces and interfaces (organic-organic and organic-inorganic) are of critical importance because they are the gateway for electrical communication and, in addition, they largely influence the structural properties of on-top deposited semiconductor organic layers. In this regard, another part of our research focuses on the characterization and manipulation of the nanoscale electrical/structural properties of interfaces. Functionalization by self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) is for instance one of the strategies used to tailor the physical-chemical properties of surfaces. Our research spans from fundamental issues in organic growth to the electronic response of metal-organic junctions. Paying special attention to the design of experimental strategies, we employ Scanning Probe Microscopes (SPM) beyond imaging to gain insight into mechanical (AFM), tribological (FFM) and electronic/electrical properties (STM, C-AFM, KPFM) with nanoscale resolution. This methodology allows us to investigate the correlation between structural, chemical and electronic properties. When required, we perform complementary structural characterization by grazing incidence x-ray diffraction (GIXD) in synchrotron facilities to study the structural evolution during growth or to access to the structure of buried interfaces.