Journal article

Electroluminescence properties of organic nanostructures studied by scanning tunnelling microscopy

The control of light emission on the scale of individual quantum systems, like molecules or quantum dots, is a field of intense current research. One way to induce light emission from these systems is the local charge injection through the tip of a scanning tunnelling microscope (STM). Studies which employ this method have to address one basic question: Does the detected luminescence provide information precisely from the molecule into which charge is injected by the STM tip apex or are the luminescence properties determined by a larger volume? In this article, we focus on the investigation of organic nanocrystals and discuss the relation between the local excitation, the intermolecular coupling and the influence of the STM as a measuring instrument. Choosing pentacene as an organic emitter, we present results, which suggest that the STM-induced luminescence cannot be attributed simply to the emission by a single molecule. We discuss how information about locality can be obtained and comment on the present experimental limitations and possible future improvements.


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