Direct Observation of Ultrafast Exciton Localization in an Organic Semiconductor with Soft X-ray Transient Absorption Spectroscopy

11 October 2021, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


We report the first demonstration of time-resolved X-ray absorption spectroscopy to track previously undetected photoinduced dynamics of a paradigmatic crystalline conjugated polymer: poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) commonly used in solar cell devices. The pi to pi* transition, the first step of solar energy conversion, is pumped with a 15 fs optical pulse and the dynamics are probed by an attosecond soft X-ray pulse at the carbon K-edge. We observe direct spectroscopic signatures of the initially hot excitonic state, which is delocalized over multiple polymer chains, undergoing a rapid evolution on a sub 50 fs timescale which can be directly associated with cooling and localization to form the lowest excitonic state on a single polymer chain. This sensitivity of time-resolved X-ray spectroscopy to the primary electron dynamics occurring directly after excitation paves the way for new insights in a wide range of organic optoelectronic materials.


Organic semiconductors
X-ray Spectroscopy
Organic polymer


Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy [opens in a new tab] - please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy [opens in a new tab] and Terms of Service [opens in a new tab] apply.