Two-dimensional spatial coherence of excitons in semicrystalline polymeric semiconductors: Effect of molecular weight
Permanent link to this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12613/5934
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AbstractThe electronic properties of macromolecular semiconductor thin films depend profoundly on their solid-state microstructure, which in turn is governed, among other things, by the processing conditions selected and the polymer's chemical nature and molecular weight. Specifically, low-molecular-weight materials form crystalline domains of cofacially π-stacked molecules, while the usually entangled nature of higher-molecular-weight polymers leads to microstructures comprised of molecularly ordered crystallites interconnected by amorphous regions. Here, we examine the interplay between extended exciton states delocalized along the polymer backbones and across polymer chains within the π stack, depending on the structural development with molecular weight. Such two-dimensional excitations can be considered as Frenkel excitons in the limit of weak intersite coupling. We combine optical spectroscopies, thermal probes, and theoretical modeling, focusing on neat poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) - one of the most extensively studied polymeric semiconductors - of weight-average molecular weight (Mw) of 3-450 kg/mol. In thin-film structures of high-molecular-weight materials (Mw > 50 kg/mol), a balance of intramolecular and intermolecular excitonic coupling results in high exciton coherence lengths along chains (∼4.5 thiophene units), with interchain coherence limited to ∼2 chains. In contrast, for structures of low-Mw P3HT (<50 kg/mol), the interchain exciton coherence is dominant (∼30% higher than in architectures formed by high-molecular-weight materials). In addition, the spatial coherence within the chain is significantly reduced (by nearly 25%). These observations give valuable structural information; they suggest that the macromolecules in aggregated regions of high-molecular-weight P3HT adopt a more planar conformation compared to low-molecular-weight materials. This results in the observed increase in intrachain exciton coherence. In contrast, shorter chains seem to lead to torsionally more disordered architectures. A rigorous, fundamental description of primary photoexcitations in π-conjugated polymers is hence developed: two-dimensional excitons are defined by the chain-length dependent molecular arrangement and interconnectivity of the conjugated macromolecules, leading to interplay between intramolecular and intermolecular spatial coherence. © 2013 American Physical Society.
Citation to related workAmerican Physical Society (APS)
Has partPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
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