Electronic Coupling in π‑Conjugated Molecule-Bridged Silicon Quantum Dot Clusters Synthesized by Sonogashira Cross-Coupling Reaction

π-Conjugated molecule-bridged silicon quantum dot (Si QD) clusters were first synthesized by Sonogashira cross-coupling reaction between 4-ethynylstyryl and octyl co-capped Si QDs (4-Es/Oct Si QDs) and 2,5-dibromo-3-hexylthiophene. The formation of Si QD clusters was confirmed by field emission transmission electron microscopy. The electronic coupling between the QDs in the Si QD cluster is significantly enhanced as compared with that for 4-Es/Oct Si QDs, which is verified from the red shift in ultraviolet–visible absorption and photoluminescence spectra of the Si QD cluster with the possibility of exciton transport, the increased charging effect found in the core-level photoemission spectra, the shift to lower binding energy of the valence band photoemission spectrum, and more decisively, the increase in electrical conductance of the Si QD cluster thin film. To investigate the physical origin of the temperature dependence of the electrical conductance, we have merged the microscopic viewpoint, Marcus theory, on the electron transfer (W) between the adjacent QDs, with macroscopic concepts, such as the conductance (G), mobility (μ), and diffusion coefficient (D). The effective reorganizational energies of charge transfer between the neighboring Si QDs in 4-Es/Oct Si QD and Si QD cluster thin films are estimated to be 170 and 140 meV, respectively, while the ratio of the effective electronic coupling of the latter to that of the former is determined to be 7.3:1.