In solar cells that incorporate semiconductor polymers as electron donors and fullerene derivatives as acceptors, a number of reports based on ultrafast optical probes reveal that charges can be generated on timescales significantly faster than ~100 fs in certain solid-state microstructures. Techniques that have been applied in these studies include variants of visible transient absorption and photoluminescence spectroscopy, terahertz spectroscopy, time-resolved infrared spectroscopy, and femtosecond stimulated Raman spectroscopy. These probes allow measurement of population dynamics of relevant photoexcitations (excitons, polarons) but do not reveal directly how these interact to produce photocarriers. Here, we present a non-linear coherent spectroscopy, photocurrent-detected two-dimensional spectroscopy (2DPC), which is an ultrafast optical thechnique belonging to a family of 2D Fourier- domain spectroscopies that allows measurement of correlations between optical transitions induced by short optical pulses. In our implementation, spectral correlations are detected via the time-integrated photocurrent produced in a photovoltaic diode. Four collinear ultrashort laser pulses (10 fs, centered at 600 nm in our experimental setup) excite the semiconductor polymer in the solar cell, with a variable delay that is independently controlled between each pulse in the sequence. Each pulse separately excites a quantum wavepacket with spectral phase and amplitude imparted by that pulse, while the effect of the pulse sequence is to collectively excite multiple quantum coherences. Interferences between the various combinations of the wavepackets determine linear and non-linear contributions to the material optical response. The fourth-order signal terms of the detected photocurrent are read using phase-sensitive detection schemes with reference waveforms corresponding to a modulation of specific phase combinations of the four femtosecond excitation pulses. By scanning the time delay between the pulses 1 and 2, as well as that between pulses 3 and 4 (coherence times), at a fixed delay between pulses 2 and 3 (population waiting time), one measures a two-dimensional coherence decay function that is Fourier transformed to produce a 2D photocurrent correlation excitation spectrum. Measurement of such spectra at different population waiting times provides insight into the role of spectral correlations and state coherence in photocurrent generation in such complex functional materials. We focus on solar cells produced by blends of a common carbazole-thiophene-benzothiadiazole polymer, PCDTBT (the donor polymer), and PCBM (the fullerene acceptor), in which we analyse the dynamics of total photocurrent generation via the time evolution of diagonal and off-diagonal spectral correlations. We address the role of vibronic coherence as well as resonant tunneling in charge separation pathways on ultrashort timescales.
Carlos Silva, "Ultrafast carrier photogeneration dynamics in polymer: fullerene solar cells probed by photocurrent-detected two-dimensional coherence spectroscopy (Presentation Recording)," Proc. SPIE 9549, Physical Chemistry of Interfaces and Nanomaterials XIV, 95490T (Presented at SPIE Nanoscience + Engineering: August 11, 2015; Published: 5 October 2015); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2190876.4519370497001.
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