Time-domain shape of electron spin echo signal of spin-correlated radical pairs in polymer/fullerene blends.

Abstract

Temporal shape of electron spin echo (ESE) signal of photoinduced spin-correlated radical pairs (SCRP) in composite of conductive polymer P3HT and substituted fullerene PCBM is studied in details. ESE signals of radical pairs (RP) P3HT+/PCBM- are calculated in realistic model, taking into account finite microwave pulse length. Inhomogeneous broadening of resonant lines and interradical distance distribution are included. Experimentally observed ESE time-domain shape was found to contradict predictions of conventional SCRP theory, which would be valid in the case of very fast electron transfer. Thus, instantaneous formation of singlet SCRP is not the case for P3HT+/PCBM- pair, and spin system has enough time to evolve coherently during sequential electron transfer. While it is impossible to reproduce experimental data within simple singlet SCRP model, assumption of presence of additional - with respect to what is predicted by singlet SCRP theory - AE (absorption/emission) spin polarization gives convincing accordance with the experiment. Density matrix of RP P3HT+/PCBM- is a superposition of two contributions, namely the parts reflecting (i) antiphase polarization of original singlet-born SCRP and (ii) additional AE-polarization which is generated during initial stage of charge separation. AE-polarization affects experimental ESEEM (electron spin echo envelope modulation) traces, as well as ESE shape, making impossible their interpretation via simple singlet SCRP model. However, this effect can be eliminated by averaging of ESEEM traces over EPR spectral positions. Finally, choosing the optimal gate for ESE time-domain integration and proper microwave detection phase tuning are considered.

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