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Home > News > Working toward new energy with electrochemistry

August 20th, 2007

Working toward new energy with electrochemistry

Using organic molecules as electronic components in nanoscale devices could lead to various technological advances including small-scale circuits for improving solar cells. One of the most important issues in this field is the role of molecule-metal contact and the electron transfer that occurs between the two. With this idea in mind, Brookhaven chemist Marshall Newton and former Brookhaven research associate Vasili Perebeinos studied the electronic activity involved in the self-assembly of sulfur-capped organic molecules supported on a gold surface. Their results were surprising:
"The bottom line is that the electrical action in the formation of this interface has already happened within the organic layer, without direct involvement of the metal," said Newton, who develops models to understand these interactions in molecular systems. "That's somewhat unexpected because people typically say that the big electrical action involves charge moving from or between the organic part and the metal surface. But in this case, the electronic rearrangement occurs internally during the process of bringing all of these organic chains together before they are in contact with the metal."


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