Temperature-independent singlet exciton fission in tetracene

Mark W B Wilson, Akshay Rao, Kerr Johnson, Simon Gélinas, Riccardo di Pietro, Jenny Clark, Richard H Friend
Journal of the American Chemical Society 2013 November 6, 135 (44): 16680-8
We use transient absorption spectroscopy to demonstrate that the dynamics of singlet exciton fission in tetracene are independent of temperature (10–270 K). Low-intensity, broad-band measurements allow the identification of spectral features while minimizing bimolecular recombination. Hence, by directly observing both species, we find that the time constant for the conversion of singlets to triplet pairs is ~90 ps. However, in contrast to pentacene, where fission is effectively unidirectional, we confirm that the emissive singlet in tetracene is readily regenerated from spin-correlated "geminate" triplets following fission, leading to equilibrium dynamics. Although free triplets are efficiently generated at room temperature, the interplay of superradiance and frustrated triplet diffusion contributes to a nearly 20-fold increase in the steady-state fluorescence as the sample is cooled. Together, these results require that singlets and triplet pairs in tetracene are effectively degenerate in energy, and begin to reconcile the temperature dependence of many macroscopic observables with a fission process which does not require thermal activation.

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