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Strategies for Design of Potential Singlet Fission Chromophores Utilizing a Combination of Ground State and Excited State Aromaticity Rules

revised on 07.02.2020, 13:07 and posted on 10.02.2020, 08:44 by Ouissam El Bakouri, Joshua R. Smith, Henrik Ottosson
Singlet exciton fission photovoltaics requires chromophores with their lowest excited states arranged so that 2E(T1) < E(S1) and E(S1) < E(T2). Herein, qualitative theory and quantum chemical calculations are used to develop explicit strategies on how to use Baird’s 4n rule on excited state aromaticity, combined with Hückel’s 4n+2 rule for ground state aromaticity, to tailor new potential chromophores for singlet fission. We first analyze the E(T1), E(S1) and E(T2) of benzene and cyclobutadiene (CBD) as, respectively, excited state antiaromatic and aromatic archetypes, and reveal that CBD fulfils the criteria on the state ordering for a singlet fission chromophore. We then look at fulvenes, a class of compounds that can be tuned by choice of substituents from Baird-antiaromatic to Baird-aromatic in T1 and S1, and from Hückel-aromatic to Hückel-antiaromatic in S0. The T1 and S1 states of most substituted fulvenes (159 of 225) are described by singly excited HOMO→LUMO configurations, providing a rational for the simultaneous tuning of E(T1) and E(S1) along an approximate (anti)aromaticity coordinate. Key to the tunability is the exchange integral (KH,L), which ideally is constant throughout the compound class, providing a constant DE(S1-T1). This leads us to a geometric model for identification of singlet fission chromophores, and we explore what factors limit the model. Candidates with calculated E(T1) of ~1 eV or higher are identified among benzannelated 4npi-electron compound classes and siloles. In brief, it is clarified how the joint utilization of Baird’s 4n and Hückel’s 4n+2 rules, together with substituent effects (electronic and steric) and benzannelation, can be used to tailor new chromophores with potential use in singlet fission photovoltaics.


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Uppsala University



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Declaration of Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no competing financial interest.