An energetics perspective on why there are so few triplet–triplet annihilation emitters†
The efficiency of solar cells may be increased by utilizing photons with energies below the band gap of the absorber. This may be enabled by upconversion of low energy photons into high energy photons via triplet–triplet annihilation (TTA) in organic chromophores. The quantum yield of TTA is often low due to competing processes. The singlet pathway, where a high energy photon is emitted, is one of three possible outcomes of an encounter between two triplet excitons. The quintet pathway is often too high in energy to be accessible, leaving the triplet pathway as the main competing process. Using many-body perturbation theory in the GW approximation and the Bethe–Salpeter equation, we calculate the energy release in both the singlet and triplet pathways for 59 chromophores of different chemical families. We find that in most cases the triplet pathway is open and has a larger energy release than the singlet pathway. Thus, the energetics perspective explains why there are so few TTA emitters and why the quantum yield of TTA is typically low. That said, our results also indicate that the performance of emitters from known chemical families may be improved by chemical modifications, such as functionalization with side groups, and that new chemical families could be explored to discover more TTA emitters.