Applying methods of supramolecular chemistry – through which molecular and atomic units interact and self-assemble into well-defined geometries – yields potential for structural control of matter at the nanoscale. On a surface, such techniques can result in the design of low-dimensional nanoarchitectures with programmed electronic properties and functionalities.
This PhD project consists of investigating the synthesis of organic and metal-organic nanostructures via supramolecular self-assembly on surfaces. Particular emphasis will be given to organic conjugated molecules coordinated with transition metal atoms. The electronic properties of these systems are such that they allow for optical excitations in the visible and near-infrared spectrum, making them relevant for applications in photovoltaics and photocatalysis. Noble metals, thin insulating films and semiconductors will be considered as substrates.
How can we reach optimal control on the atomic-scale structure of a metal-organic system on a surface? How does this translate into its electronic properties? Can these be tailored to ensure optimal predefined optoelectronic functionality? In order to tackle these questions, the studied systems will be prepared in a controlled ultrahigh vacuum environment. Atomic-scale structural and electronic characterization will be achieved in the Schiffrin group at Monash via in situ low-temperature scanning tunneling microscopy and spectroscopy, as well as non-contact atomic force microscopy. Complementary chemical information will be provided by x-ray absorption and photoelectron spectroscopy studies at the Australian Synchrotron.
Scholarships are available and cover tuition and health insurance costs (for International candidates) and provide a living stipend of AUD25,849 per year. Exceptional candidates may receive AUD30,000 per year.