To keep fossil fuel usage in 2040 even with 2010 usage, 50% of global energy will need to come from alternative sources such as solar cells. While the photovoltaic market is currently dominated by crystalline silicon, there are many low-cost solar cell materials such as conjugated polymers, semiconductor nanocrystals, and organic small molecules which could compete with fossil fuels. To create cost-competitive devices, understanding the excited state dynamics of these materials is necessary.The first section of this thesis looks at aggregation in poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) which is commonly used in organic photovoltaics. The amount of aggregation in P3HT thin films was controlled by using a mixture of regioregular and regiorandom P3HT. Even with few aggregates present, excited states were found to transfer from amorphous to aggregate domains in <50 fs which could indicate efficient long-range energy transfer.To further study P3HT aggregation, a triblock consisting of two P3HT chains with a coil polymer between them was investigated. By changing solvents, aggregation was induced in a stable and reversible manner allowing for spectroscopic studies of P3HT aggregates in solution. The polarity of the solvent was adjusted, and no change in excited state dynamics was observed implying the excited state has little charge-transfer character.Next, the conduction band density of states for copper zinc tin sulfide nanocrystals (CZTS NCs) was measured using pump-probe spectroscopy and found to be in agreement with theoretical results. The density of states shifted and dilated for smaller NCs indicative of quantum confinement. The excited state lifetime was found to be short (<20 ps) and independent of NC size which could limit the efficiency of CZTS photovoltaic devices.Finally, triplet-triplet annihilation (TTA) was studied in platinum octaethylporphyrin (PtOEP) thin films. By analyzing pump-probe spectra, the product of TTA in PtOEP thin films was assigned to a long-lived metal-centered state. To elucidate the mechanism of TTA, the annihilation dynamics were modeled using second order kinetics as well as Förster and Dexter energy transfer. Dexter energy transfer provided the best fits and the most reasonable fitting parameters.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. July 2014. Major: Chemical Physics. Advisor:David A. Blank. 1 computer file (PDF); xxi, 213 pages, appendices A.
Exciton Dynamics in Alternative Solar Cell Materials: Polymers, Nanocrystals, and Small Molecules.
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