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Energy transport and light propagation mechanisms in organic single crystals

Bernd Wittmann, Stephan Wiesneth, Sajedeh Motamen, Laurent Simon, Françoise Serein-Spirau, Günter Reiter, and Richard Hildner. Journal of Chemical Physics 153 (2020) 144202

Unambiguous information about spatio-temporal exciton dynamics in three-dimensional, nano- to micrometre-sized organic structures is difficult to obtain experimentally. Exciton dynamics can be modified by annihilation processes, and different light propagation mechanisms can take place, such as active waveguiding and photon recycling. Since these various processes and mechanisms can lead to similar spectroscopic and microscopic signatures on comparable time scales, their discrimination is highly demanding. Here, we study individual organic single crystals grown from thiophene-based oligomers. We use time-resolved detection-beam scanning microscopy to excite a local singlet exciton population and monitor the subsequent broadening of the photoluminescence (PL) signal in space and on pico- to nanosecond time scales. Combined with Monte Carlo simulations we were able to exclude photon recycling for our system, whereas leakage radiation upon active waveguiding leads to an apparent PL broadening of about 20% compared to the initial exciton profile. Exciton-exciton annihilation becomes important at high excitation fluence and apparently accelerates the exciton dynamics and increases diffusion lengths. At low excitation fluences the spatio-temporal PL broadening results from singlet exciton diffusion with diffusion lengths of up to 210 nm. Surprisingly, even in structurally highly ordered single crystals, the transport dynamics is subdiffusive and shows variations between different crystals, which we relate to varying degrees of static and dynamic electronic disorder.

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