The stacking of positively charged (or doped) terthiophene oligomers and quaterthiophene polymers in solution is investigated applying a recently developed unified electrostatic and cavitation model for first-principles calculations in a continuum solvent. The thermodynamic and structural patterns of the dimerization are explored in different solvents, and the distinctive roles of polarity and surface tension are characterized and analyzed. Interestingly, we discover a saturation in the stabilization effect of the dielectric screening that takes place at rather small values of epsilon(0). Moreover, we address the interactions in trimers of terthiophene cations, with the aim of generalizing the results obtained for the dimers to the case of higher-order stacks and nanoaggregates. (c) 2006 American Institute of Physics.