Interface dipoles of organic molecules on Ag(111) in hybrid density-functional theory

Oliver T. Hofmann*, Viktor Atalla, Nikolaj Moll, Patrick Rinke, Matthias Scheffler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigate the molecular acceptors 3,4,9,10-perylene-tetracarboxylic acid dianhydride (PTCDA), 2,3,5,6-tetrafluoro-7,7,8,8-tetracyanoquinodimethane (F4TCNQ) and 4,5,9,10-pyrenetetraone (PYTON) on Ag(111) using density-functional theory (DFT). For two groups of the Heyd-Scuseria-Ernzerhof (HSE(α, ω)) family of exchange-correlation functionals (ω = 0 and 0.2 Å) we study the isolated components as well as the combined systems as a function of the amount of exact-exchange (α). We find that hybrid functionals favour electron transfer to the adsorbate. Comparing with experimental work function data, for α ≈ 0.25 we report a notable but small improvement over (semi) local functionals for the interface dipole. Although Kohn-Sham eigenvalues are only approximate representations of ionization energies, incidentally, at this value also the density of states agrees well with the photoelectron spectra. However, increasing α to values for which the energy of the lowest unoccupied molecular orbital matches the experimental electron affinity in the gas phase worsens both the interface dipole and the density of states. Our results imply that semi-local DFT calculations may often be adequate for conjugated organic molecules on metal surfaces and that the much more computationally demanding hybrid functionals yield only small improvements.

Original languageEnglish
Article number123028
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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