Estimation of π-π Electronic Couplings from Current Measurements

J. Trasobares, J. Rech, T. Jonckheere, T. Martin, O. Aleveque, E. Levillain, V. Diez-Cabanes, Y. Olivier, J. Cornil, J. P. Nys, R. Sivakumarasamy, K. Smaali, P. Leclere, A. Fujiwara, D. Théron, D. Vuillaume, N. Clément

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The π-π interactions between organic molecules are among the most important parameters for optimizing the transport and optical properties of organic transistors, light-emitting diodes, and (bio-) molecular devices. Despite substantial theoretical progress, direct experimental measurement of the π-π electronic coupling energy parameter t has remained an old challenge due to molecular structural variability and the large number of parameters that affect the charge transport. Here, we propose a study of π-π interactions from electrochemical and current measurements on a large array of ferrocene-thiolated gold nanocrystals. We confirm the theoretical prediction that t can be assessed from a statistical analysis of current histograms. The extracted value of t ≈35 meV is in the expected range based on our density functional theory analysis. Furthermore, the t distribution is not necessarily Gaussian and could be used as an ultrasensitive technique to assess intermolecular distance fluctuation at the subangström level. The present work establishes a direct bridge between quantum chemistry, electrochemistry, organic electronics, and mesoscopic physics, all of which were used to discuss results and perspectives in a quantitative manner.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3215-3224
Number of pages10
JournalNano Letters
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Cooperative effect
  • coupled quantum dot
  • molecular electronics
  • nanoelectrochemistry
  • transfer integral
  • π−π interaction


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