Theoretical studies of molecule-substrate interaction at complex gold and silicon oxide surfaces using surface and cluster models

Date

2021-01-11

Authors

Ting, Chao-Ming

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Abstract

The formation and patterns of a monolayer are determined by the interplay of two fundamental interactions, adsorbate-substrate and intermolecular interactions. The binding strength between adsorbate and substrate affects the mobility of the adsorbate at the surface and the stability of the complex. The intermolecular interaction plays a significant role in the monolayer patterns on the epitaxial layer of the substrate. A monolayer can be formed either by a spontaneous self-assembly, or by fabrication via atomic-layer deposition (ALD). The physical and chemical properties of the resulting monolayer have a broad array of applications in fabricating functional materials for hydrophobic or hydrophilic surfaces, biological sensors, alternating the properties of the substrate, catalysis and forming ordered layered structures. In this dissertation, the investigation focuses primarily on the influence of the surface topology on the binding behaviour of adsorbate-surface complexes. The state of the art DFT-TS method is used to simulate the sulfur-containing amino acids at complex gold surfaces and examine the relationship between the binding strengths and the binding sites with various nearest neighbouring environments. The same method is also used to determine if a chemical reaction will take place for various catalytic silicon precursors at a silicon oxide surface. Simulating surface chemistry using the DFT-TS method requires intensive com- puting resources, including CPU use and computing time. Another focus of this dissertation is to increase the data generating speed by reducing the size of the sim- ulated systems without altering the outcome. A relatively small gold cluster is used to study the binding behaviours of small organic molecules on the cluster. The same strategy is also used to simulate the chemical reactions between various self-catalying silicon precursors and a water molecule.

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Keywords

atomic layer deposition (ALD), Basis set superposition error (BSSE), coordination numbers (CNs), cysteine, Density-functional theory (DFT), Gaussian simulation program, homocysteine, methionine, SIESTA simulation program, surface chemistry, Tkatchenko-Scheffler-type pairwise dispersion correction (TS-type)

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