Infrared vibrational nanocrystallography and nanoimaging

By: Eric A. Muller, Benjamin Pollard, Hans A. Bechtel, Peter van Blerkom, and Markus B. Raschke

Sci. Adv. 2, 10, e1601006 (2016) doi:10.1126/sciadv.1601006

Molecular solids and polymers can form low-symmetry crystal structures that exhibit anisotropic electron and ion mobility in engineered devices or biological systems. The distribution of molecular orientation and disorder then controls the macroscopic material response, yet it is difficult to image with conventional techniques on the nanoscale.

We demonstrated a new form of optical nano-crystallography that combines scattering-type scanning nearfield optical microscopy with both optical antenna and tip-selective infrared vibrational spectroscopy. From the symmetry-selective probing of molecular bond orientation with nanometer spatial resolution, we determined crystalline phases and orientation in aggregates and films of the organic electronic material perylenetetracarboxylic dianhydride. Mapping disorder within and between individual nanoscale domains, the correlative hybrid imaging of nanoscale heterogeneity provides insight into defect formation and propagation during growth in functional molecular solids.



Crystal Clear Imaging: Infrared Brings to Light Nanoscale Molecular Arrangement