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J Am Chem Soc. 2005 Dec 28;127(51):18234-42.

Influence of thermal fluctuations on interfacial electron transfer in functionalized TiO2 semiconductors.

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Department of Chemistry, Yale University, P.O. Box 208107, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8107, USA.


The influence of thermal fluctuations on the dynamics of interfacial electron transfer in sensitized TiO2-anatase semiconductors is investigated by combining ab initio DFT molecular dynamics simulations and quantum dynamics propagation of transient electronic excitations. It is shown that thermal nuclear fluctuations speed up the underlying interfacial electron transfer dynamics by introducing nonadiabatic transitions between electron acceptor states, localized in the vicinity of the photoexcited adsorbate, and delocalized states extended throughout the semiconductor material, creating additional relaxation pathways for carrier diffusion. Furthermore, it is shown that room-temperature thermal fluctuations reduce the anisotropic character of charge diffusion along different directions in the anatase crystal and make similar the rates for electron injection from adsorbate states of different character. The reported results are particularly relevant to the understanding of temperature effects on surface charge separation mechanisms in molecular-based photo-optic devices.

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