Ultrafast Long-Range Charge Separation in Organic Semiconductor Photovoltaic Diodes

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Science  31 Jan 2014:
Vol. 343, Issue 6170, pp. 512-516
DOI: 10.1126/science.1246249

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Early Separation

In photovoltaic devices, electrons excited by the absorption of light must travel across a junction, while the positively charged “holes” they leave behind effectively migrate in the opposite direction. If the electrons and holes do not separate efficiently, they can recombine and fail to produce any appreciable current. Gélinas et al. (p. 512, published online 12 December; see the Perspective by Bredas) studied this separation process by ultrafast optical absorption spectroscopy in thiophene-derived donor-fullerene acceptor systems common in organic photovoltaics and report a rate significantly faster than simple charge diffusion would suggest. The results implicate a coherent charge delocalization process, likely to involve fullerene π-electron states.