Conversion between triplet pair states is controlled by molecular coupling in pentadithiophene thin films†
In singlet fission (SF) the initially formed correlated triplet pair state, 1(TT), may evolve toward independent triplet excitons or higher spin states of the (TT) species. The latter result is often considered undesirable from a light harvesting perspective but may be attractive for quantum information sciences (QIS) applications, as the final exciton pair can be spin-entangled and magnetically active with relatively long room temperature decoherence times. In this study we use ultrafast transient absorption (TA) and time-resolved electron paramagnetic resonance (TR-EPR) spectroscopy to monitor SF and triplet pair evolution in a series of alkyl silyl-functionalized pentadithiophene (PDT) thin films designed with systematically varying pairwise and long-range molecular interactions between PDT chromophores. The lifetime of the (TT) species varies from 40 ns to 1.5 μs, the latter of which is associated with extremely weak intermolecular coupling, sharp optical spectroscopic features, and complex TR-EPR spectra that are composed of a mixture of triplet and quintet-like features. On the other hand, more tightly coupled films produce broader transient optical spectra but simpler TR-EPR spectra consistent with significant population in 5(TT)0. These distinctions are rationalized through the role of exciton diffusion and predictions of TT state mixing with low exchange coupling J versus pure spin substate population with larger J. The connection between population evolution using electronic and spin spectroscopies enables assignments that provide a more detailed picture of triplet pair evolution than previously presented and provides critical guidance for designing molecular QIS systems based on light-induced spin coherence.