Activating Electroluminescence of Charged Naphthalene Diimide Complexes Directly Adsorbed on a Metal Substrate

  • Author:

    V. Rai, L. Gerhard, N. Balzer, M. Valášek, C. Holzer, L. Yang, M. Wegener, C. Rockstuhl, M. Mayor, and W. Wulfhekel

  • Source:

    Phys. Rev. Lett. 130, 036201 (2023)

  • Date: 18.01.2023
  • Abstract:

    Electroluminescence from single molecules adsorbed on a conducting surface imposes conflicting demands for the molecule-electrode coupling. To conduct electrons, the molecular orbitals need to be hybridized with the electrodes. To emit light, they need to be decoupled from the electrodes to prevent fluorescence quenching. Here, we show that fully quenched 2,6-core-substituted naphthalene diimide derivative in a self-assembled monolayer directly deposited on a Au(111) surface can be activated with the tip of a scanning tunneling microscope to decouple the relevant frontier orbitals from the metallic substrate. In this way, individual molecules can be driven from a strongly hybridized state with quenched luminescence to a light-emitting state. The emission performance compares in terms of quantum efficiency, stability, and reproducibility to that of single molecules deposited on thin insulating layers. Quantum chemical calculations suggest that the emitted light originates from the singly charged cationic pair of the molecules.