Molecular Control of Triplet-Pair Spin Polarization and Its Optoelectronic Magnetic Resonance Probes

Obadiah Reid, Justin Johnson, Joel Eaves, Niels Damrauer, John Anthony

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus Citations


Preparing and manipulating pure magnetic states in molecular systems are the key initial requirements for harnessing the power of synthetic chemistry to drive practical quantum sensing and computing technologies. One route for achieving the requisite higher spin states in organic systems exploits the phenomenon of singlet fission, which produces pairs of triplet excited states from initially photoexcited singlets in molecular assemblies with multiple chromophores. The resulting spin states are characterized by total spin (quintet, triplet, or singlet) and its projection onto a specified molecular or magnetic field axis. These excited states are typically highly polarized but exhibit an impure spin population pattern. Herein, we report the prediction and experimental verification of molecular design rules that drive the population of a single pure magnetic state and describe the progress toward its experimental realization. A vital feature of this work is the close partnership among theory, chemical synthesis, and spectroscopy. We begin by presenting our theoretical framework for understanding spin manifold interconversion in singlet fission systems. This theory makes specific testable predictions about the intermolecular structure and orientation relative to an external magnetic field that should lead to pure magnetic state preparation and provides a powerful tool for interpreting magnetic spectra. We then test these predictions through detailed magnetic spectroscopy experiments on a series of new molecular architectures that meet one or more of the identified structural criteria. Many of these architectures rely on the synthesis of molecules with features unique to this effort: rigid bridges between chromophores in dimers, heteroacenes with tailored singlet/triplet-pair energy level matching, or side-group engineering to produce specific crystal structures. The spin evolution of these systems is revealed through our application and development of several magnetic resonance methods, each of which has different sensitivities and relevance in environments relevant to quantum applications. Our theoretical predictions prove to be remarkably consistent with our experimental results, though experimentally meeting all the structural prescriptions demanded by theory for true pure-state preparation remains a challenge. Our magnetic spectra agree with our model of triplet-pair behavior, including funneling of the population to the ms = 0 magnetic sublevel of the quintet under specified conditions in dimers and crystals, showing that this phenomenon is subject to control through molecular design. Moreover, our demonstration of novel and/or highly sensitive detection mechanisms of spin states in singlet fission systems, including photoluminescence (PL), photoinduced absorption (PA), and magnetoconductance (MC), points the way toward both a deeper understanding of how these systems evolve and technologically feasible routes toward experiments at the single-molecule quantum limit that are desirable for computational applications.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)59-69
Number of pages11
JournalAccounts of Chemical Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2024

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-87469


  • exciton
  • molecule
  • quantum information
  • spectroscopy
  • spin


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