Hot photocarrier dynamics in organic solar cells

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Lane P. A., Cunningham P. D., Melinger J. S., Esenturk O., Heilweil E. J.

NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, vol.6, 2015 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 6
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.1038/ncomms8558
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Photocurrent in an organic solar cell is generated by a charge transfer reaction between electron donors and acceptors. Charge transfer is expected to proceed from thermalized states, but this picture has been challenged by recent studies that have investigated the role of hot excitons. Here we show a direct link between excess excitation energy and photocarrier mobility. Charge transfer from excited donor molecules generates hot photocarriers with excess energy coming from the offset between the lowest unoccupied molecular orbital of the donor and that of the acceptor. Hot photocarriers manifest themselves through a short-lived spike in terahertz photoconductivity that decays on a picosecond timescale as carriers thermalize. Different dynamics are observed when exciting the acceptor at its absorption edge to a thermalized state. Charge transfer in this case generates thermalized carriers described by terahertz photoconductivity dynamics consisting of an instrument-limited rise to a long-lived signal.