The Excited-State Lifetime of Poly(NDI2OD-T2) Is Intrinsically Short

Melissa Gish, Chamikara Karunasena, Joshua Carr, William Kopcha, Ann Greenaway, Aiswarya Mohapatra, Junxiang Zhang, Aniruddha Basu, Victor Brosius, Saied Pratik, Jean-Luc Bredas, Veaceslav Coropceanu, Stephen Barlow, Seth Marder, Andrew Ferguson, Obadiah Reid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Conjugated polymers composed of alternating electron donor and acceptor segments have come to dominate the materials being considered for organic photoelectrodes and solar cells, in large part because of their favorable near-infrared absorption. The prototypical electron-transporting push–pull polymer poly(NDI2OD-T2) (N2200) is one such material. While reasonably efficient organic solar cells can be fabricated with N2200 as the acceptor, it generally fails to contribute as much photocurrent from its absorption bands as the donor with which it is paired. Moreover, transient absorption studies have shown N2200 to have a consistently short excited-state lifetime (~100 ps) that is dominated by a ground-state recovery. In this paper, we investigate whether these characteristics are intrinsic to the backbone structure of this polymer or if these are extrinsic effects from ubiquitous solution-phase and thin-film aggregates. We compare the solution-phase photophysics of N2200 with those of a pair of model compounds composed of alternating bithiophene (T2) donor and naphthalene diimide (NDI) acceptor units, NDI-T2-NDI and T2-NDI-T2, in a dilute solution. We find that the model compounds have even faster ground-state recovery dynamics (..tau.. = 45, 27 ps) than the polymer (..tau.. = 133 ps), despite remaining molecularly isolated in solution. In these molecules, as in the case of the N2200 polymer, the lowest excited state has a T2 to NDI charge-transfer (CT) character. Electronic-structure calculations indicate that the short lifetime of this state is due to fast nonradiative decay to the ground state (GS) promoted by strong CT-GS electronic coupling and strong electron-vibrational coupling with high-frequency (quantum) normal modes.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)6392-6400
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number15
StatePublished - 2024

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-88850


  • absorption
  • aromatic compounds
  • hydrocarbons
  • redox reactions
  • solvents


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