Safeguarding long-lived excitons from excimer traps in H-aggregated dye-assemblies†
The fate of perylene bisimide (PBI) H-aggregates as energy-harvesting materials depends on the ability to circumvent an extremely deleterious but efficient self-trapping process that scavenges the long-lived excitons to form deep excimeric traps. We present the first ever report of an ambient-stable, bright, steady-state photoluminescence (PL) from the long-lived exciton of an H-aggregated PBI crystal. The crystal structure reveals a rotationally displaced H-aggregated arrangement of PBI chromophores, in which transition from the lowest energy exciton state is partially allowed. Polarized absorption spectroscopy on single microcrystals confirms an unusually large exciton splitting of ∼1265 cm−1 that stabilizes the lower exciton state, and inhibits excimer formation. A PL Mueller matrix study shows an increase in the excited state polarization anisotropy, indicating a strong localization of the nascent exciton, which further safeguards it from the self-trapping process. Finally, the possibility of achieving excimer-free excitonic PL in solution self-assembly is also demonstrated.