Excitonic energy migration in conjugated polymers: the critical role of interchain morphology

Zhongjian Hu, Takuji Adachi, Ryan Haws, Bo Shuang, Robert J Ono, Christopher W Bielawski, Christy F Landes, Peter J Rossky, David A Vanden Bout
Journal of the American Chemical Society 2014 November 12, 136 (45): 16023-31
Excitonic energy migration was studied using single molecule spectroscopy of individual conjugated polymer (CP) chains and aggregates. To probe the effect of interchain morphology on energy migration in CP, tailored interchain morphologies were achieved using solvent vapor annealing to construct polymer aggregates, which were then studied with single aggregate spectroscopy. We report that highly ordered interchain packing in regioregular poly(3-hexylthiophene) (rr-P3HT) enables long-range interchain energy migration, while disordered packing in regiorandom poly(3-hexylthiophene) (rra-P3HT), even in aggregates of just a few chains, can dramatically impede the interchain mechanism. In contrast to rr-P3HT, interchain energy migration in poly(3-(2'-methoxy-5'-octylphenyl)thiophene) (POMeOPT), a polythiophene derivative with bulky side chains, can be completely inhibited. We use simulated structures to show that the reduction in interchain coupling is not due simply to increased packing distance between backbones of different chains, but reflects inhibition of stacking due to side-chain-induced twisting of the contours of individual chains. A competition from intrachain coupling has also been demonstrated by comparing POMeOPT aggregates with different polymer chain sizes.


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