Electronic Structure and Band Gap of Fullerenes on Tungsten Surfaces: Transition from a Semiconductor to a Metal Triggered by Annealing

Ehsan Monazami, John B. McClimon, James Rondinelli, Petra Reinke*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The understanding and control of molecule-metal interfaces is critical to the performance of molecular electronics and photovoltaics devices. We present a study of the interface between C60 and W, which is a carbide-forming transition metal. The complex solid-state reaction at the interface can be exploited to adjust the electronic properties of the molecule layer. Scanning tunneling microscopy/spectroscopy measurements demonstrate the progression of this reaction from wide band gap (>2.5 eV) to metallic molecular surface during annealing from 300 to 800 K. Differential conduction maps with 104 scanning tunneling spectra are used to quantify the transition in the density of states and the reduction of the band gap during annealing with nanometer spatial resolution. The electronic transition is spatially homogeneous, and the surface band gap can therefore be adjusted by a targeted annealing step. The modified molecules, which we call nanospheres, are quite resistant to ripening and coalescence, unlike any other metallic nanoparticle of the same size. Densely packed C60 and isolated C60 molecules show the same transition in electronic structure, which confirms that the transformation is controlled by the reaction at the C60-W interface. Density functional theory calculations are used to develop possible reaction pathways in agreement with experimentally observed electronic structure modulation. Control of the band gap by the choice of annealing temperature is a unique route to tailoring molecular-layer electronic properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34854-34862
Number of pages9
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number50
StatePublished - Dec 21 2016


  • density functional theory
  • electronic structure
  • fullerene
  • molecule-metal interfaces
  • scanning tunneling microscopy/spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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