One- and two-photon absorption and emission properties of an oligo(phenylenethienylene)s series†
The photophysical and nonlinear absorption properties of an oligo(phenylenethienylene)s series (nTBT) are investigated in this article. The length of the chromophore is gradually increased from one to four phenylenethienylene repeating units in order to evaluate the effects of the electronic delocalization on the two-photon absorption cross sections (δ). According to the excitation anisotropy measurements and quantum chemical calculations, two electronic transitions with distinctive symmetries, 1Ag → 1Bu and 1Ag → 2Ag, are present in the low energy region of the linear absorption spectrum. The lowest-energy transition 1Ag → 1Bu is one-photon allowed but two-photon forbidden and implies an electronic charge delocalization all along the oligomer segment whereas the weakly-allowed 1Ag → 2Ag transition exhibits a transition moment perpendicular to the average plane of the chromophore. The latter transition mainly contributes to the two-photon absorption ability of the oligomers. All derivatives are poorly solvatochromic and the breakdown of the mirror symmetry rule observed between absorption and fluorescence spectra at room temperature has been attributed to a photoinduced geometrical relaxation leading to a very efficient planarization process of the oligomer irrespective of its size. Increasing the oligomer length results in a slight shift of the two-photon absorption band (∼1300 cm−1) and in a drastic increase of δ from 2 ± 1 GM up to 802 ± 160 GM for 1TBT and 4TBT respectively. Based on a three-level model, it was found that main contributions to the strong increase of δ stem from the transition moments Mge and Mee′ which are multiplied by a factor of 2.8 and 5 when going from 1TBT to 4TBT.