Biaxial growth of pentacene on rippled silica surfaces studied by rotating grazing incidence X-ray diffraction

Stefan Pachmajer, Oliver Werzer, Carlo Mennucci, Francesco Buatier de Mongeot, R. Resel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pentacene is known to grow on isotropic silicon oxide surfaces in a substrate-induced phase with fiber textured crystallites. This growth study reports on the growth of pentacene crystallites on uniaxially oriented surfaces. Silica substrates have been treated by ion beam sputtering so that ripples with a lateral corrugation length of 38 nm and a surface roughness of 1.3 nm are formed. Pentacene thin films with a nominal thickness in the range from 20 nm up to 300 nm are deposited on top of the rippled surfaces. The films are characterized by atomic force microscopy and grazing incidence X-ray diffraction. Bi-axially oriented crystals are formed due to the grooves of the substrate surface opening up the possibility of a defined in-plane alignment of the crystals. In a first stage of thin film growth, the thin film phase (TFP)of pentacene is formed, while in the later stage the bulk crystal structure (C, Campbell phase)also appears. Due to the bi-axial alignment of the crystallites the transition from the thin film phase to the bulk crystal structure can be directly investigated. An epitaxial relationship with (1 2 0)TFP || (2 1 0)C and [−2 1 0]TFP ||[1 −2 0]C is observed which can be explained by an adaption of the herringbone layers of both crystal structures. This work reveals one possible microscopic mechanism for the transition from the metastable substrate-induced phase of pentacene to its equilibrium bulk structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-76
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Crystal Growth
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019


  • A1 Surface processes
  • A2 X-ray diffraction
  • A3 Physical vapor deposition processes
  • B1 Organic compounds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry

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