Efficient singlet fission discovered in a disordered acene film

Sean T Roberts, R Eric McAnally, Joseph N Mastron, David H Webber, Matthew T Whited, Richard L Brutchey, Mark E Thompson, Stephen E Bradforth
Journal of the American Chemical Society 2012 April 11, 134 (14): 6388-400
Singlet exciton fission is a process that occurs in select organic semiconductors and entails the splitting of a singlet excited state into two lower triplet excitons located on adjacent chromophores. Research examining this phenomenon has recently seen a renaissance due to the potential to exploit singlet fission within the context of organic photovoltaics to prepare devices with the ability to circumvent the Shockley-Queisser limit. To date, high singlet fission yields have only been reported for crystalline or polycrystalline materials, suggesting that molecular disorder inhibits singlet fission. Here, we report the results of ultrafast transient absorption and time-resolved emission experiments performed on 5,12-diphenyl tetracene (DPT). Unlike tetracene, which tends to form polycrystalline films when vapor deposited, DPT's pendant phenyl groups frustrate crystal growth, yielding amorphous films. Despite the high level of disorder in these films, we find that DPT exhibits a surprisingly high singlet fission yield, with 1.22 triplets being created per excited singlet. This triplet production occurs over two principal time scales, with ~50% of the triplets appearing within 1 ps after photoexcitation followed by a slower phase of triplet growth over a few hundred picoseconds. To fit these kinetics, we have developed a model that assumes that due to molecular disorder, only a subset of DPT dimer pairs adopt configurations that promote fission. Singlet excitons directly excited at these sites can undergo fission rapidly, while singlet excitons created elsewhere in the film must diffuse to these sites to fission.

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