Chemical and electrical properties of interfaces between magnesium and aluminum and tris-(8-hydroxy quinoline) aluminum

C. Shen, Antoine Kahn, Jeffrey Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

157 Scopus citations


The chemistry, electronic structure, and electron injection characteristics at interfaces formed between tris(8-hydroxy quinoline) aluminum (Alq3) and magnesium (Mg) and aluminum (Al) are studied via x-ray photoemission spectroscopy, ultraviolet photoemission spectroscopy, and current-voltage (I-V) measurements. Both metal-on-Alq3 and Alq3-on-metal interfaces are investigated. All interfaces are fabricated and tested in ultrahigh vacuum in order to eliminate extrinsic effects related to interface contamination. The propensity for Mg and Al to form covalent metal-carbon bonds leads to broad and heavily reacted interfaces when the metal is deposited on the organic film. For this deposition sequence, we propose the formation of an organometallic structure where a single metal atom attaches to the pyridyl side of the quinolate ligand of the molecule and coordinates with an oxygen atom of another ligand or of a neighboring molecule. The other deposition sequence leads to significantly more abrupt interfaces where the chemical reaction is limited to the first molecular layer in contact with the metal surface. Both types of interface exhibit chemistry-induced electronic gap states, the position of which depends on the chemical structure of the interface. The interface width, chemical structure, and electronic states appear to play no significant role in electron injection in metal/Alq3/metal sandwich structures, the I-V characteristics for top and bottom injection being identical over several decades of current.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-459
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


Dive into the research topics of 'Chemical and electrical properties of interfaces between magnesium and aluminum and tris-(8-hydroxy quinoline) aluminum'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this