SOLAR CELLS: Coherent ultrafast charge transfer in an organic photovoltaic blend

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Abstract

Blends of conjugated polymers and fullerene derivatives are prototype systems for organic photovoltaic devices. The primary charge-generation mechanism involves a light-induced ultrafast electron transfer from the light-absorbing and electron-donating polymer to the fullerene electron acceptor. Here, we elucidate the initial quantum dynamics of this process. Experimentally, we observed coherent vibrational motion of the fullerene moiety after impulsive optical excitation of the polymer donor. Comparison with first-principle theoretical simulations evidences coherent electron transfer between donor and acceptor and oscillations of the transferred charge with a 25-femtosecond period matching that of the observed vibrational modes. Our results show that coherent vibronic coupling between electronic and nuclear degrees of freedom is of key importance in triggering charge delocalization and transfer in a noncovalently bound reference system.

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