The effect of intermolecular interactions and disorder on exciton diffusion in organic semiconductors
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This thesis presents studies of exciton diffusion in organic semiconductors measured using exciton-exciton annihilation and the measurements were performed on materials important for organic solar cells. In the conjugated polymer poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT), the effect of molecular weight (4-76 kgmol⁻¹) was explored. Using exciton-exciton annihilation measurements, the highest diffusion coefficient was observed in the intermediate molecular weight region and was correlated with long conjugation lengths, higher fraction of aggregated states and more delocalised excitons within the aggregate. The results demonstrated that the molecular weight dependence is due to a complex relationship between intermolecular interactions, aggregate size and Boltzmann statistics. This thesis also includes an investigation of exciton diffusion in diketopyrrolopyrrole(DPP)-based small molecules as a function of molecular structure. Significant changes in photophysical and exciton diffusion properties were observed due to minor changes in molecular structure. Long conjugation lengths, bulky side chains or reduced steric hindrance due to absence of end alkyl chains correlated with reduced film crystallinity and reduced diffusion coefficients. The increase in disorder observed due to large conformational torsions resulted in inhomogeneous broadening of density of states and as a result exciton diffusion becomes dispersive. In this case, a slowdown of exciton diffusion is observed. This study demonstrates that enhanced exciton diffusion can be achieved by designing more rigid and planar conjugated backbones with smaller conjugation lengths. Finally, exciton diffusion measurements were used to rationalise the performance of T3 truxene oligomers as explosive sensors. Side chain lengths were found to have a subtle influence on exciton diffusion. Time-resolved PL quenching measurements were used to estimate the quencher concentration. Differences in quencher concentration were observed suggesting different interaction strengths of the quencher with the truxene oligomer which help explain the explosive sensing performance.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: 2020-12-19
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Print and electronic copy restricted until 19th December 2020
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