Atomic-Scale Imaging and Spectroscopy of Electroluminescence at Molecular Interfaces

The conversion of electric power to light is an important scientific and technological challenge. Advanced experimental methods have provided access to explore the relevant microscopic processes at the nanometer scale. Here, we review state-of-the-art studies of electroluminescence induced on the molecular scale by scanning tunneling microscopy. We discuss the generation of excited electronic states and electron hole pairs (excitons) at molecular interfaces and address interactions between electronic states, local electromagnetic fields (tip-induced plasmons), and molecular vibrations. The combination of electronic and optical spectroscopies with atomic-scale spatial resolution is able to provide a comprehensive picture of energy conversion at the molecular level. A recently developed aspect is the characterization of electroluminescence emitters as quantum light sources, which can be studied with high time resolution, thus providing access to picosecond dynamics at the atomic scale.


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