Investigation of the photo-induced charge transfer in organic semiconductors via single molecule spectroscopy techniques
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Photo-induced charge transfer which occurs between molecules or different parts of a large molecule is the pivotal process related to performances of organic electronics. In particular, injection of charge carriers into conjugated polymers and dissociation of photo-generated excitons at the heterojunction between a donor and acceptor system are of great importance in determining the luminescence efficiency of organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) and solar energy conversion efficiency of organic solar cells, respectively. However, the complex nature of organic semiconductors as well as complicated primary processes involved in the functioning of these devices have prevented us from understanding unique characteristics of these processes and thereby engineering better materials for higher performances. In this dissertation, two different types of photo-induced (or -related) charge transfer processes occurring in organic semiconductors were investigated by using single molecule spectroscopy (SMS) techniques to unravel the complexities of these processes. The carefully designed functioning capacitor-like model devices similar to OLEDs and photovoltaic cells were fabricated where isolated single nanoparticles were introduced as an active medium to mitigate the complexities of these materials. We observed that injection of positively charged carriers (holes) into poly[2-methoxy-5-(2'-ethyl-hexyloxy)-1,4-phenylene vinylene] (MEH-PPV) single nanoparticles from the carbazole hole transport layer does not occur in the absence of light. We denoted the observed hole injection in aid of light as the light-induced hole transfer mechanism (LIHT). It was revealed that the charging dynamics are highly consistent with a cooperative charging effect. In addition, the LIHT was proposed as the possible source for the formation of deep trapped hole in organic devices. Local exciton dissociation yields across a nanostructured domain between poly(9,9-dioctylfluorene-alt-benzothiadiazole) (F8BT) single nanoparticles and either poly(9,9- dioctylfluorene - co - bis-N,N- (4 -butylphenyl)-bis-N,N-phenyl-1,4-phenylene diamine) (PFB) or poly(9,9-dioctylfluorene-co-N-(4-butylphenyl)diphenylamine) (TFB) film in model photovoltaic devices was also investigated. A wide distribution of exciton dissociation yields was observed from each nanodomain due to the device geometry. The observed hysteresis in fluorescence voltage curve was ascribed to accumulated charges following charge separations. The dynamics of charge separation under the applied electric field was described in more detail.