Double-excitation manifold's effect on exciton transfer dynamics and the efficiency of coherent light harvesting
The efficiency of natural light harvesting systems is largely determined by their ability to transfer excitations from the antenna to the energy trapping center before recombination. The exciton diffusion length similarly limits organic photovoltaics and demands bulk heterojunction architectures. Dark state protection, achieved by coherent coupling between subunits within the antenna, can significantly reduce radiative recombination and enhance the efficiency of energy trapping. In this work we extend the dark state concept to the double-excitation manifold by studying the dynamical flow of excitations. We show that the lowest double-excitation state carries minimal oscillator strength, but relaxation to this state from higher lying double excitations can be relatively rapid such that the lowest double excitation state can act as a dynamical dark state protecting excitation from radiative recombination. This mechanism is sensitive to topology and operates differently for chain and ring structures, while becoming more pronounced in both geometries when the size of the antenna increases. When the exciton–exciton annihilation (EEA) mechanism is considered, the double-excitation population is quickly depleted and the dynamics change dramatically. However the efficiency and output power are still significantly different from those calculated using the single-excitation manifold alone, justifying the necessity of considering the double-excitation manifold. Remarkably, in certain scenarios, EEA can even increase the overall light harvesting efficiency by bringing population down from the double-excitation dark states to the single-excitation manifold.