Electronic Coherence and Collective Optical Excitations of Conjugated Molecules

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Science  08 Aug 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5327, pp. 781-787
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5327.781

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Optical spectroscopy of conjugated molecules is described by using collective electronic coordinates, which represent the joint dynamics of electron-hole pairs. The approach relates the optical signals directly to the dynamics of charges and bond orders (electronic coherences) induced by the radiation field and uses only ground-state information, thus avoiding the explicit calculation of excited molecular states. The resulting real-space picture is reminiscent of the normal-mode analysis of molecular vibrations and offers a unified framework for the treatment of other types of systems including semiconductor nanostructures and biological complexes. Spatial coherence displayed in two-dimensional plots of the five electronic normal modes that dominate the optical response of poly(p-phenylene vinylene) oligomers with up to 50 repeat units (398 carbon atoms) in the 1.5- to 8-electronvolt frequency range suggests a saturation to bulk behavior at about five repeat units.

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