Ultralong-Range Polaron-Induced Quenching of Excitons in Isolated Conjugated Polymers

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Science  04 Feb 2011:
Vol. 331, Issue 6017, pp. 565-567
DOI: 10.1126/science.1199140

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In conjugated polymers, radiative recombination of excitons (electron-hole pairs) competes with nonradiative thermal relaxation pathways. We visualized exciton quenching induced by hole polarons in single-polymer chains in a device geometry. The distance-scale for quenching was measured by means of a new subdiffraction, single-molecule technique—bias-modulated intensity centroid spectroscopy—which allowed the extraction of a mean centroid shift of 14 nanometers for highly ordered, single-polymer nanodomains. This shift requires energy transfer over distances an order of magnitude greater than previously reported for bulk conjugated polymers and far greater than predicted by the standard mechanism for exciton quenching, the unbiased diffusion of free excitons to quenching sites. Instead, multistep “energy funneling” to trapped, localized polarons is the probable mechanism for polaron-induced exciton quenching.

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