Physical Chemistry

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

Authors

Abstract

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.

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