Infoscience

Journal article

Ultrafast Relaxation of the Poly(3-hexylthiophene) Emission Spectrum

The femtosecond-resolved evolution of the emission spectrum of the important conjugated polymer poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) is presented. Detailed fluorescence up-conversion spectroscopy was performed on P3HT solid-state films and on P3HT in chlorobenzene solution. Two excitation wavelengths and several emission wavelengths, covering the entire fluorescence spectrum, were used. The data were complemented by polarization-sensitive measurements. Our global analysis allowed a reconstruction of the time-resolved emission spectra with 200 Is temporal resolution, so that spectral changes due to the early relaxation processes following pi-pi* interband absorption in the pristine polymer could be comprehensively characterized. Absorption occurs in isolated polymer chains in solution and in the solid state (including interchain interactions) for the film. In both cases, we find evidence of delocalization of the electrons and holes formed in the energy bands directly after photoexcitation with excess energy. This is followed by ultrafast (similar to 100 fs) self-localization of the primary photoexcitation and by relatively slow exciton formation (similar to 1 ps). Further relaxation occurs with time constants ranging from hundreds of femtoseconds to tens of picoseconds, due to exciton hopping to sites with lower energy and to a slow conformational planarization of the polymer backbone. Depolarization, a spectral red shift, and important changes in the vibronic structure are observed as a consequence of this relaxation. Finally, relaxed intrachain and interchain singlet excitons are formed in solution and film, respectively, on a 100-200 ps time scale. They decay with a similar to 500 ps time constant, by intersystem crossing in solution and by nonradiative recombination in the film. Our results are consistent with and strongly support the conclusions we obtained from a similar time-resolved fluorescence study of the polymer PCDTBT (J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2010, 132, 17459): ultrafast charge separation in polymer:fullerene blends seems to occur before localization of the primary excitation to form a bound exciton.

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