Chain length and substituent effects on the formation of excimer-like states in nanoaggregates of CN-PPV model oligomers

Gizelle A. Sherwood, Ryan Cheng, Kelly Chacon-Madrid, Timothy M. Smith, Linda A. Peteanu, Jurjen Wildeman

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18 Scopus citations


The effects of aggregate formation on the photophysical properties of alkoxy and cyano-substituted polyphenylene phenylene vinylene oligomers (CN-PPVs) were studied in bulk solution to better understand the consequences of aggregation for the emission properties of the polymer. Nanoaggregates of oligomers from 5 to 13 repeat units in length were formed using a solvent reprecipitation method. The propensity for these aggregates to exhibit excimer-like emission in solution was found to be a strong function of oligomer chain length and the solvents used in the reprecipitation process. Short-chain oligomers produced nanoaggregates with absorption and fluorescence spectra and emission lifetimes essentially identical to those of the monomer. The aggregates of long-chain oligomers have broad and red-shifted emission spectra and relatively long emission lifetimes, both of which are characteristic of excimer states. However their absorption spectra are also perturbed suggesting that the oligomer chains in these aggregates interact strongly in their electronic ground states as well. For intermediate chain lengths, dual monomer-like (green) and excimer-like (red) emission is observed. Single aggregate dispersed emission spectra from aggregates deposited onto glass coverslips demonstrate that, in the absence of solvent, the predominant emitters are monomer-like rather than excimer-like. Moreover, the monomer-like emitters are found to be far more photostable than the analogous non-CN substituted aggregates, whereas the photostability of the excimer-like emitters is exceptionally poor under the illumination conditions used for microscopy. Comparisons between the properties of these nanoaggregates and the corresponding CN-substituted polymer are drawn.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12078-12089
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number28
StatePublished - Jul 22 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • General Energy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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