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Issue 35, 2016
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Ultrafast charge-transfer in organic photovoltaic interfaces: geometrical and functionalization effects

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Abstract

Understanding the microscopic mechanisms of electronic excitation in organic photovoltaic cells is a challenging problem in the design of efficient devices capable of performing sunlight harvesting. Here we develop and apply an ab initio approach based on time-dependent density functional theory and Ehrenfest dynamics to investigate photoinduced charge transfer in small organic molecules. Our calculations include mixed quantum–classical dynamics with ions moving classically and electrons quantum mechanically, where no experimental external parameter other than the material geometry is required. We show that the behavior of photocarriers in zinc phthalocyanine (ZnPc) and C60 systems, an effective prototype system for organic solar cells, is sensitive to the atomic orientation of the donor and the acceptor units as well as the functionalization of covalent molecules at the interface. In particular, configurations with the ZnPc molecules facing on C60 facilitate charge transfer between substrate and molecules that occurs within 200 fs. In contrast, configurations where ZnPc is tilted above C60 present extremely low carrier injection efficiency even at longer times as an effect of the larger interfacial potential level offset and higher energetic barrier between the donor and acceptor molecules. An enhancement of charge injection into C60 at shorter times is observed as binding groups connect ZnPc and C60 in a dyad system. Our results demonstrate a promising way of designing and controlling photoinduced charge transfer on the atomic level in organic devices that would lead to efficient carrier separation and maximize device performance.

Graphical abstract: Ultrafast charge-transfer in organic photovoltaic interfaces: geometrical and functionalization effects

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Publication details

The article was received on 07 Apr 2016, accepted on 03 Jun 2016 and first published on 08 Jun 2016


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C6NR02857H
Author version available: Download Author version (PDF)
Citation: Nanoscale, 2016,8, 15902-15910
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    Ultrafast charge-transfer in organic photovoltaic interfaces: geometrical and functionalization effects

    E. J. G. Santos and W. L. Wang, Nanoscale, 2016, 8, 15902
    DOI: 10.1039/C6NR02857H

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