Tight binding model of conformational disorder effects on the optical absorption spectrum of polythiophenes

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Abstract

Semiconducting polymers are soft materials with many conformational degrees of freedom. The limited understanding of how conformational disorder affects their optoelectronic properties is a key source of difficulties that limits their widespread usage in electronic devices. We develop a coarse-grained approach based on the tight binding approximation to model the electronic degrees of freedom of polythiophene chains, taking into account conformational degrees of freedom. Particularly important is dihedral disorder, which disrupts extended electronic states. Our tight binding model is parameterized using density functional theory (DFT) calculations of the one-dimensional band structures for chains with imposed periodic variations in dihedral angles. The model predicts valence and conduction bands for these chain conformations that compare well to DFT results. As an initial application of our model, we compute the optical absorption spectrum of poly(3-hexylthiophene) chains in solution. We observe a broadening of the absorption edge resulting from dihedral disorder, just shy of the experimental broadening. We conclude that the effects of molecular disorder on the optoelectronic properties of conjugated polymer single chains can be mostly accounted for by torsional disorder alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12521-12533
Number of pages13
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Volume18
Issue number18
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

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Light absorption
optical spectrum
Absorption spectra
optical absorption
disorders
absorption spectra
Optoelectronic devices
degrees of freedom
Density functional theory
Semiconducting polymers
electronics
Conjugated polymers
density functional theory
Electronic states
Dihedral angle
Valence bands
Conduction bands
Band structure
Conformations
polymers

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

Cite this

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title = "Tight binding model of conformational disorder effects on the optical absorption spectrum of polythiophenes",
abstract = "Semiconducting polymers are soft materials with many conformational degrees of freedom. The limited understanding of how conformational disorder affects their optoelectronic properties is a key source of difficulties that limits their widespread usage in electronic devices. We develop a coarse-grained approach based on the tight binding approximation to model the electronic degrees of freedom of polythiophene chains, taking into account conformational degrees of freedom. Particularly important is dihedral disorder, which disrupts extended electronic states. Our tight binding model is parameterized using density functional theory (DFT) calculations of the one-dimensional band structures for chains with imposed periodic variations in dihedral angles. The model predicts valence and conduction bands for these chain conformations that compare well to DFT results. As an initial application of our model, we compute the optical absorption spectrum of poly(3-hexylthiophene) chains in solution. We observe a broadening of the absorption edge resulting from dihedral disorder, just shy of the experimental broadening. We conclude that the effects of molecular disorder on the optoelectronic properties of conjugated polymer single chains can be mostly accounted for by torsional disorder alone.",
author = "Bombile, {Joel H.} and Janik, {Michael John} and Milner, {Scott Thomas}",
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TY - JOUR

T1 - Tight binding model of conformational disorder effects on the optical absorption spectrum of polythiophenes

AU - Bombile, Joel H.

AU - Janik, Michael John

AU - Milner, Scott Thomas

PY - 2016

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N2 - Semiconducting polymers are soft materials with many conformational degrees of freedom. The limited understanding of how conformational disorder affects their optoelectronic properties is a key source of difficulties that limits their widespread usage in electronic devices. We develop a coarse-grained approach based on the tight binding approximation to model the electronic degrees of freedom of polythiophene chains, taking into account conformational degrees of freedom. Particularly important is dihedral disorder, which disrupts extended electronic states. Our tight binding model is parameterized using density functional theory (DFT) calculations of the one-dimensional band structures for chains with imposed periodic variations in dihedral angles. The model predicts valence and conduction bands for these chain conformations that compare well to DFT results. As an initial application of our model, we compute the optical absorption spectrum of poly(3-hexylthiophene) chains in solution. We observe a broadening of the absorption edge resulting from dihedral disorder, just shy of the experimental broadening. We conclude that the effects of molecular disorder on the optoelectronic properties of conjugated polymer single chains can be mostly accounted for by torsional disorder alone.

AB - Semiconducting polymers are soft materials with many conformational degrees of freedom. The limited understanding of how conformational disorder affects their optoelectronic properties is a key source of difficulties that limits their widespread usage in electronic devices. We develop a coarse-grained approach based on the tight binding approximation to model the electronic degrees of freedom of polythiophene chains, taking into account conformational degrees of freedom. Particularly important is dihedral disorder, which disrupts extended electronic states. Our tight binding model is parameterized using density functional theory (DFT) calculations of the one-dimensional band structures for chains with imposed periodic variations in dihedral angles. The model predicts valence and conduction bands for these chain conformations that compare well to DFT results. As an initial application of our model, we compute the optical absorption spectrum of poly(3-hexylthiophene) chains in solution. We observe a broadening of the absorption edge resulting from dihedral disorder, just shy of the experimental broadening. We conclude that the effects of molecular disorder on the optoelectronic properties of conjugated polymer single chains can be mostly accounted for by torsional disorder alone.

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