Oraganic conjugated polymers, optoelectronic applications, two photon absorption, non linear optical properties, time dependent density functional theory, excited state dynamics, charge transport, polarons, excitons, exchange correlation functionals


Organic π-conjugated solids are promising candidates for new optoelectronic materials. The large body of evidence points at their advantageous properties such as high charge-carrier mobility, large nonlinear polarizability, mechanical flexibility, simple and low cost fabrication and superior luminescence. They can be used as nonlinear optical (NLO) materials with large two-photon absorption (2PA) and as electronic components capable of generating nonlinear neutral (excitonic) and charged (polaronic) excitations. In this work, we investigate the appropriate theoretical methods used for the (a) prediction of 2PA properties for rational design of organic materials with improved NLO properties, and (b) understanding of the essential electronic excitations controlling the energy-transfer and charge-transport properties in organic optoelectronics. Accurate prediction of these electro-optical properties is helpful for structureactivity relationships useful for technological innovations. In Chapter 1 we emphasize on the potential use of the organic materials for these two applications. The 2PA process is advantageous over one-photon absorption for deep-tissue fluorescence microscopy, photodynamic therapy, microfabrication and optical data storage owing to the three-dimensional spatial selectivity and improved penetration depth in the absorbing or scattering media. The design of the NLO materials with large 2PA cross-sections may reduce the optical damage due to the use of the high intensity laser beams for excitation. The organic molecules also possess self-localized excited states which can decay radiatively or nonradiatively to form excitonic states. This suggests the use of these materials in the electroluminescent devices such as light-emitting diodes and photovoltaic cells through the processes of exciton formation or dissociation, respectively. It is therefore necessary to understand ultrafast relaxation processes required in understanding the interplay between the iv efficient radiative transfer between the excited states and exciton dissociation into polarons for improving the efficiency of these devices. In Chapter 2, we provide the detailed description of the various theoretical methods applied for the prediction as well as the interpretation of the optical properties of a special class of substituted PPV [poly (p-phenylene vinylene)] oligomers. In Chapter 3, we report the accuracy of different second and third order time dependent density functional theory (TD-DFT) formalisms in prediction of the 2PA spectra compared to the experimental measurements for donor-acceptor PPV derivatives. We recommend a posteriori Tamm-Dancoff approximation method for both qualitative and quantitative analysis of 2PA properties. Whereas, Agren's quadratic response methods lack the double excitations and are not suitable for the qualitative analysis of the state-specific contributions distorting the overall quality of the 2PA predictions. We trace the reasons to the artifactual excited states above the ionization threshold. We also study the effect of the basis set, geometrical constraints and the orbital exchange fraction on the 2PA excitation energies and cross-sections. Higher exchange (BMK and M05-2X) and range-separated (CAM-B3LYP) hybrid functionals are found to yield inaccurate predictions both quantitatively and qualitatively. The failure of the exchangecorrelation (XC) functionals with correct asymptotic is traced to the inaccurate transition dipoles between the valence states, where functionals with low HF exchange succeed. In Chapter 4, we test the performance of different semiempirical wavefunction theory methods for the prediction of 2PA properties compared to the DFT results for the same set of molecules. The spectroscopic parameterized (ZINDO/S) method is relatively better than the general purpose parameterized (PM6) method but the accuracy is trailing behind the DFT methods. The poor performances of PM6 and ZINDO/S methods are attributed to the incorrect description of excited-to-excited state transition and 2PA energies, respectively. The different v semiempirical parameterizations can at best be used for quantitative analysis of the 2PA properties. The ZINDO/S method combined with different orders of multi-reference configuration interactions provide an improved description of 2PA properties. However, the results are observed to be highly dependent on the specific choice for the active space, order of excitation and reference configurations. In Chapter 5, we present a linear response TD-DFT study to benchmark the ability of existing functional models to describe the extent of self-trapped neutral and charged excitations in PPV and its derivative MEH-PPV considered in their trans-isomeric forms. The electronic excitations in question include the lowest singlet (S1) and triplet (T1 † ) excitons, positive (P+ ) and negative (P- ) polarons and the lowest triplet (T1) states. Use of the long-range-corrected DFT functional, such as LC-wPBE, is found to be crucial in order to predict the physically correct spatial localization of all the electronic excitations in agreement with experiment. The inclusion of polarizable dielectric environment play an important role for the charged states. The particlehole symmetry is preserved for both the polymers in trans geometries. These studies indicate two distinct origins leading to self-localization of electronic excitations. Firstly, distortion of molecular geometry may create a spatially localized potential energy well where the state wavefunction self-traps. Secondly, even in the absence of geometric and vibrational dynamics, the excitation may become spatially confined due to energy stabilization caused by polarization effects from surrounding dielectric medium. In Chapter 6, we aim to separate these two fundamental sources of spatial localization. We observe the electronic localization of P + and Pis determined by the polarization effects of the surrounding media and the character of the DFT functional. In contrast, the self-trapping of the electronic wavefunctions of S1 and T1(T1 † ) mostly follows their lattice distortions. Geometry vi relaxation plays an important role in the localization of the S1 and T1 † excitons owing to the nonvariational construction of the excited state wavefunction. While, mean-field calculated P + , Pand T1 states are always spatially localized even in ground state S0 geometry. Polaron P+ and Pformation is signified by the presence of the localized states for the hole or the electron deep inside the HOMO-LUMO gap of the oligomer as a result of the orbital stabilization at the LCwPBE level. The broadening of the HOMO-LUMO band gap for the T1 exciton compared to the charged states is associated with the inverted bond length alternation observed at this level. The molecular orbital energetics are investigated to identify the relationships between state localization and the corresponding orbital structure. In Chapter 7, we investigate the effect of various conformational defects of trans and cis nature on the energetics and localization of the charged P + and Pexcitations in PPV and MEHPPV. We observe that the extent of self-trapping for P+ and Ppolarons is highly sensitive on molecular and structural conformations, and distribution of atomic charges within the polymers. The particle-hole symmetry is broken with the introduction of trans defects and inclusion of the polarizable environment in consistent with experiment. The differences in the behavior of PPV and MEH-PPV is rationalized based on their orbital energetics and atomic charge distributions. We show these isomeric defects influence the behavior and drift mobilities of the charge carriers in substituted PPVs.


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Graduation Date





Masunov, Artem E.


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Sciences



Degree Program









Release Date

December 2013

Length of Campus-only Access


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Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences, Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic

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