Intrachain exciton dynamics in conjugated polymer chains in solution

Oliver Robert Tozer, William Barford
Journal of Chemical Physics 2015 August 28, 143 (8): 084102
We investigate exciton dynamics on a polymer chain in solution induced by the Brownian rotational motion of the monomers. Poly(para-phenylene) is chosen as the model system and excitons are modeled via the Frenkel exciton Hamiltonian. The Brownian fluctuations of the torsional modes were modeled via the Langevin equation. The rotation of monomers in polymer chains in solution has a number of important consequences for the excited state properties. First, the dihedral angles assume a thermal equilibrium which causes off-diagonal disorder in the Frenkel Hamiltonian. This disorder Anderson localizes the Frenkel exciton center-of-mass wavefunctions into super-localized local exciton ground states (LEGSs) and higher-energy more delocalized quasi-extended exciton states (QEESs). LEGSs correspond to chromophores on polymer chains. The second consequence of rotations-that are low-frequency-is that their coupling to the exciton wavefunction causes local planarization and the formation of an exciton-polaron. This torsional relaxation causes additional self-localization. Finally, and crucially, the torsional dynamics cause the Frenkel Hamiltonian to be time-dependent, leading to exciton dynamics. We identify two distinct types of dynamics. At low temperatures, the torsional fluctuations act as a perturbation on the polaronic nature of the exciton state. Thus, the exciton dynamics at low temperatures is a small-displacement diffusive adiabatic motion of the exciton-polaron as a whole. The temperature dependence of the diffusion constant has a linear dependence, indicating an activationless process. As the temperature increases, however, the diffusion constant increases at a faster than linear rate, indicating a second non-adiabatic dynamics mechanism begins to dominate. Excitons are thermally activated into higher energy more delocalized exciton states (i.e., LEGSs and QEESs). These states are not self-localized by local torsional planarization. During the exciton's temporary occupation of a LEGS-and particularly a quasi-band QEES-its motion is semi-ballistic with a large group velocity. After a short period of rapid transport, the exciton wavefunction collapses again into an exciton-polaron state. We present a simple model for the activated dynamics which is in agreement with the data.

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