Research Areas


funCOS structure

Molecular Interactions Area

Three specific projects constitute the Molecular Interactions Area. These projects are targeting the experimental investigation of local molecule–molecule and molecule–oxide interactions, primarily in ideal UHV environment. They address the key issues in experimental surface science: the microscopic surface structure (funCOS 1), the electronic surface structure (funCOS 2), and the local surface chemistry (funCOS 3).

Structure Formation Area

Based on the thorough understanding of microscopic interaction, the second operational area of funCOS will address structure formation. Two main targets are identified:

  • An in-depth understanding of structure formation of functional organic films on oxide surfaces and nanostructures based on tailored molecule–substrate and molecule–molecule interactions.
  • The controlled fabrication of molecular films on oxide nanostructures, leading to composites with tailored structural, electronic, and chemical properties.

Corresponding activities will include the structural investigation of organic adlayers on long-range ordered surfaces and their evolution upon adsorption (funCOS 4) and on more complex metal oxide substrates, such as oxide nanostructures (funCOS 5). A detailed exploration of the mechanisms of structure formation will lead to substantially new insights into the fundamental principles of supramolecular ordering at dimensions ranging from nanometer-sized aggregates to objects at the mesoscale. Moreover, the Structure Formation Area will contribute to a better understanding of structure formation and to establishment of structure–property relationships up to significantly enhanced complexity. Based on the local picture from the Molecular Interactions Area these activities will facilitate the controlled fabrication of complex molecular architectures on oxide supports.

Theory Area

Close interlinking between the experimental projects and the Theory Area is vital within funCOS. Therefore, each project in the Molecular Interactions Area and the Structure Formation Area is related to its counterpart activities in the Theory Area. This coordinated interplay will be the key to understand functional molecular structures on oxides at the level of detail that we are aiming at.

The Theory Area consists of three domains. Domain I: Molecular Bonding and Spectroscopic Signatures investigates the basic adsorption properties of molecules on oxide surfaces (funCOS Oxide Toolbox). Besides ground state geometric and electronic structures, spectroscopic (IRAS, XPS, STS) and imaging (STM) data shall be considered. Domain II: Excited States and Photoexcitation investigates electronic excitations of adsorbate structures and their coupling to the metal oxide. In addition to excitation spectra, the lifetime of excited states will elucidate the dynamics of electron transfer processes. Domain III: Intermolecular Interactions and Structure Formation is concerned with adsorbate arrangements, from simple to nanostructured films. The interplay of adsorbate–substrate and adsorbate–adsorbate interactions during structure formation shall be investigated, also including the role of surface defects, structuring, and the interaction with small molecules. By proceeding from basic interaction mechanisms to complex film structures and properties, the Theory Area shall provide a microscopic-level understanding at each individual step and, thus, will help to establish the design rules that funCOS is aiming for.