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J Phys Chem B. 2006 Dec 21;110(50):25462-71.

Photoinduced charge carrier generation in a poly(3-hexylthiophene) and methanofullerene bulk heterojunction investigated by time-resolved terahertz spectroscopy.

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  • 1National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Colorado 80401, USA.


We report on the ultrafast photoinduced charge separation processes in varying compositions of poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) blended with the electron acceptor [6,6]-phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM). Through the use of time-resolved terahertz spectroscopy, the time- and frequency-dependent complex photoconductivity is measured for samples with PCBM weight fractions (WPCBM) of 0, 0.2, 0.5, and 0.8. By analysis of the frequency-dependent complex conductivity, both the charge carrier yield and the average charge carrier mobility have been determined analytically and indicate a short (<0.2 nm) carrier mean free path and a suppressed long-range transport that is characteristic of carrier localization. Studies on pure films of P3HT demonstrate that charge carrier generation is an intrinsic feature of the polymer that occurs on the time scale of the excitation light, and this is attributed to the dissociation of bound polaron pairs that reside on adjacent polymer chains due to interchain charge transfer. Both interchain and interfacial charge transfer contribute to the measured photoconductivity from the blended samples; interfacial charge transfer increases as a function of increasing PCBM. The addition of PCBM to the polymer films surprisingly does not dramatically increase the production of charge carriers within the first 2 ps. However, charge carriers in the 0.2 and 0.5 blended films survive to much longer times than those in the P3HT and 0.8 films.

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