A combined experimental method involving vibrational-sum frequency generation spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and photoluminescent measurements is employed to investigate the molecular ordering and packing density at the surface of a molecularly functionalized model photoelectrode. Poorly ordered molecular assembly on atomically rough surfaces is observed, which is responsible for the formation of trapped electronic states at the dye-electrode interface.
The effect of roughness and thickness of alumina layers, mimicking the passivation layer commonly used in dye-sensitized photoelectrodes, on the molecular adsorption of P1 dye, 4-(bi(4-(2,2-dicyano-vinyl)-thiophene-2-yl]-phenyl]-aminobenzoic acid) has been studied using surface-sensitive vibrational sum frequency generation(VSFG) spectroscopy. The VSFG spectra reveal the formation of poorly ordered dye layers on relatively rough surfaces where XPS measures a higher dye loading. Furthermore, these poorly ordered dye molecules are responsible for the generation of trapped electronic states as probed by successive photoluminescence (PL) measurements. Surface sensitive VSFG spectroscopy in combination with XPS and PL measurements provide complementary spectral information on ordering of the adsorbed dyes, their density on the surface and electronic states of the adsorbed monolayer which are prerequisite for improving our understanding of molecularly functionalized photoelectrodes and their further development.Zum Volltext