Metal organic contacts are at the basis of devices such as organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs). Here, we report a theoretical investigation of the chemical interaction between a Mg atom and an organic film made of tris(8-hydroxyquinoline)aluminum (Alq3) molecules. The latter is modeled either by an isolated molecule or by a bulk crystal. Using first-principles molecular dynamics for structural optimization, we find that an isolated Alq3 molecule and a Mg atom form an ion-pair. However, when the metal atom interacts with molecules in a bulk crystalline environment, we find that an organometallic complex is energetically preferred over the ion-pair. The complex formation is an effect of the environment which makes possible the interaction of the metal atom with several adjacent molecules. Here, our calculated O(1s) and N(1s) core level shifts agree well with recent experimental data on Alq3 films exposed to Mg. Our results resolve the apparent contradiction between experiment and predictions made in previous calculations in which a single Alq3 molecule was used to model a thin film.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry