Silicon Electrodes Functionalized with Perylene Bisimide π-Aggregates for Redox-Controlled Stabilization of Semiconducting Nanointerfaces

Arindam Mukhopadhyay, Kaixuan Liu, Victor Paulino, Carrie L. Donley, Jean Hubert Olivier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While the functionalization of silicon electrode surfaces with molecularly dissolved chromophores paves the way to create diverse redox-responsive interfaces, leveraging nanoscale objects derived from π-conjugated organic building blocks to modulate the electronic structures of Si hybrids remains vastly elusive. This study uncovers a redox-controlled stabilization effect exclusive to silicon electrodes functionalized with monolayers that are derived from perylene bisimide (PBI) nanoaggregates. For this class of n-type hybrid nanomaterials, we highlight that the cathodic potential required to inject negative charge carriers into the conduction band of the PBI monolayer can be reversibly stabilized by more than 375 mV through modulation of the maximum anodic potential (MAP) employed during the anodic cycle (i.e., +0.5 or +1.5 V vs Ag/AgCl). The magnitude of this redox-controlled stabilization effect is shown to be dictated by the structure-function relationships of the PBI nanoaggregates exploited to construct the monolayers on Si electrodes. Using a set of control experiments, we demonstrate that such a redox-controlled stabilization effect is not observed for monolayers derived from molecularly dissolved PBI precursors and for Si electrode precursors that feature a low density of anchoring groups. Supported by density functional theory calculations that highlight a significant structural reorganization of a model, partially p-doped PBI nanoaggregates, the data presented herein indicate that a MAP of +1.5 V versus Ag/AgCl is accompanied by a structural reorganization of the monolayers built exclusively from PBI π-aggregates. We propose that conformational perturbations engendered at a high anodic potential (+1.5 V) lead to the emergence of electronic states that further facilitate electron injections. The results uncovered herein establish a proof of principle that transferring the structure-function relationships of π-aggregates on inorganic electrodes delivers a powerful method to construct nanoscale semiconducting interfaces whose conduction band energies are redox-controlled in a reversible manner. This effect may establish the foundation for a new class of memory effect as the anodic potentials (write) dictate the current density at a given cathodic potential (read).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8813-8822
Number of pages10
JournalACS Applied Nano Materials
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 24 2021


  • perylene bisimide
  • semiconducting monolayers
  • silicon electrode
  • supramolecular chemistry
  • surface functionalization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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