Tuning the polarity of charge carriers using electron deficient thiophenes
Thiophene-1,1-dioxide (TDO) oligomers have fascinating electronic properties. We previously used thermopower measurements to show that a change in charge carrier from hole to electron occurs with increasing length of TDO oligomers when single-molecule junctions are formed between gold electrodes. In this article, we show for the first time that the dominant conducting orbitals for thiophene/TDO oligomers of fixed length can be tuned by altering the strength of the electron acceptors incorporated into the backbone. We use the scanning tunneling microscope break-junction (STM-BJ) technique and apply a recently developed method to determine the dominant transport channel in single-molecule junctions formed with these systems. Through these measurements, we find that increasing the electron affinity of thiophene derivatives, within a family of pentamers, changes the polarity of the charge carriers systematically from holes to electrons, with some systems even showing mid-gap transport characteristics.