The red-phase of poly[2-methoxy-5-(2-ethylhexyloxy)-1,4-phenylenevinylene] (MEH-PPV): a disordered HJ-aggregate

Hajime Yamagata, Nicholas J Hestand, Frank C Spano, Anna Köhler, Christina Scharsich, Sebastian T Hoffmann, Heinz Bässler
Journal of Chemical Physics 2013 September 21, 139 (11): 114903
The ratio of the 0-0 to 0-1 peak intensities in the photoluminescence (PL) spectrum of red-phase poly[2-methoxy-5-(2-ethylhexyloxy)-1,4-phenylenevinylene], better known as MEH-PPV, is significantly enhanced relative to the disordered blue-phase and is practically temperature independent in the range from T = 5 K to 180 K. The PL lifetime is similarly temperature independent. The measured trends are accounted for by modeling red-phase MEH-PPV as disordered π-stacks of elongated chains. Using the HJ-aggregate Hamiltonian expanded to include site disorder amongst electrons and holes, the absorption and PL spectra of cofacial MEH-PPV dimers are calculated. The PL 0-0/0-1 line strength ratio directly responds to the competition between intrachain interactions which promote J-aggregate-like behavior (enhanced PL ratio) and interchain interactions which promote H-aggregate-like behavior (attenuated PL ratio). In MEH-PPV aggregates, J-like behavior is favored by a relatively large intrachain exciton bandwidth--roughly an order of magnitude greater than the interchain bandwidth--and the presence of disorder. The latter is essential for allowing 0-0 emission at low temperatures, which is otherwise symmetry forbidden. For Gaussian disorder distributions consistent with the measured (inhomogeneous) line widths of the vibronic peaks in the absorption spectrum, calculations show that the 0-0 peak maintains its dominance over the 0-1 peak, with the PL ratio and radiative lifetime practically independent of temperature, in excellent agreement with experiment. Interestingly, interchain interactions lead only to about a 30% drop in the PL ratio, suggesting that the MEH-PPV π-stacks--and strongly disordered HJ-aggregates in general--can masquerade as single (elongated) chains. Our results may have important applications to other emissive conjugated polymers such as the β-phase of polyfluorenes.


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