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Structural Disorder as the Origin of Optical Properties and Spectral Dynamics in Squaraine Nano-Aggregates

Cite this: J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2022, 144, 42, 19372–19381
Publication Date (Web):October 14, 2022
https://doi.org/10.1021/jacs.2c07064
Copyright © 2022 American Chemical Society

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    Abstract

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    In contrast to regular J- and H-aggregates, thin film squaraine aggregates usually have broad absorption spectra containing both J-and H-like features, which are favorable for organic photovoltaics. Despite being successfully applied in organic photovoltaics for years, a clear interpretation of these optical properties by relating them to specific excited states and an underlying aggregate structure has not been made. In this work, by static and transient absorption spectroscopy on aggregated n-butyl anilino squaraines, we provide evidence that both the red- and blue-shifted peaks can be explained by assuming an ensemble of aggregates with intermolecular dipole–dipole resonance interactions and structural disorder deriving from the four different nearest neighbor alignments─in sharp contrast to previous association of the peaks with intermolecular charge-transfer interactions. In our model, the next-nearest neighbor dipole–dipole interactions may be negative or positive, which leads to the occurrence of J- and H-like features in the absorption spectrum. Upon femtosecond pulse excitation of the aggregated sample, a transient absorption spectrum deviating from the absorbance spectrum emerges. The deviation finds its origin in the excitation of two-exciton states by the probe pulse. The lifetime of the exciton is confirmed by the band integral dynamics, featuring a single-exponential decay with a lifetime of 205 ps. Our results disclose the aggregated structure and the origin of red- and blue-shifted peaks and explain the absence of photoluminescence in squaraine thin films. Our findings underline the important role of structural disorder of molecular aggregates for photovoltaic applications.

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    The Supporting Information is available free of charge at https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/jacs.2c07064.

    • Characterization of nBSQ, Hamiltonian model, calculation of simulated spectra, DFT calculations, photoluminescence spectra, transient absorption spectra for high-energy photoexcitation, decomposition of simulated transient absorption spectra, and simulation of static absorption spectra for different aggregate sizes (PDF)

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    Cited By

    This article is cited by 3 publications.

    1. Rabi Sankar Das, Debabrata Maiti, Samiran Kar, Tapas Bera, Ayan Mukherjee, Pranab Chandra Saha, Aniruddha Mondal, Samit Guha. Design of Water–Soluble Rotaxane-Capped Superparamagnetic, Ultrasmall Fe3O4 Nanoparticles for Targeted NIR Fluorescence Imaging in Combination with Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Journal of the American Chemical Society 2023, 145 (37) , 20451-20461. https://doi.org/10.1021/jacs.3c06232
    2. Nan Zhang, Lu Liu, Haixia Chang, Ke Liu, Taihong Liu, Liping Ding, Yu Fang. Tunable Non-Kasha Behaviors and Excited-State Dynamics of Quadrupolar Squaraine Aggregates. The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters 2023, 14 (32) , 7283-7289. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpclett.3c02029
    3. Srijon Ghosh, Kritiman Marjit, Goutam Ghosh, Debarati Ghosh, Amitava Patra. Ultrafast Photoinduced Dynamics of Quaterthiophene-Squaraine Hybrid Aggregates. The Journal of Physical Chemistry C 2023, 127 (20) , 9735-9744. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpcc.3c02345

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