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J Chem Phys. 2007 Nov 14;127(18):184703.

Reclassifying exciton-phonon coupling in molecular aggregates: evidence of strong nonadiabatic coupling in oligothiophene crystals.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19122, USA.


Exciton-phonon (EP) coupling in molecular aggregates is reexamined in cases where extended intermolecular interactions result in low-energy excitons with high effective masses. The analysis is based on a single intramolecular vibrational mode with frequency omega0 and Huang-Rhys factor lambda2. When the curvature Jc at the exciton band bottom is much smaller than the free-exciton Davydov splitting W, the strength of the EP coupling is determined by comparing the nuclear relaxation energy lambda2omega0 with the curvature. In this way, weak (lambda2omega0<<4piJc), intermediate I (lambda2omega0 approximately 4piJc), and strong I (lambda2omega0>>4piJc) coupling regimes are introduced. The conventional intermediate (lambda2omega0 approximately W) and strong (lambda2omega0>>W) EP coupling regimes originally defined by Simpson and Peterson [J. Chem. Phys. 26, 588 (1957)] are based solely on the Davydov splitting and are referred to here as intermediate II and strong II regimes, respectively. Within the intermediate I and strong I regimes the near degeneracy of the low-energy excitons allows efficient nonadiabatic coupling, resulting in a spectral splitting between the b- and ac-polarized first replicas in the vibronic progression characterizing optical absorption. Such spectral signatures are clearly observed in OT4 thin films and crystals, where splittings for the lowest energy mode with omega0=161 cm(-1) are as large as 30 cm(-1) with a small variation due to sample disorder. Numerical calculations using a multiphonon BO basis set and a Hamiltonian including linear EP coupling yield excellent agreement with experiment.

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