Single molecule-level study of donor-acceptor interactions and nanoscale environment in blends

Nicole Quist, Rebecca Grollman, Jeremy Rath, Alex Robertson, Michael Haley, John Anthony, Oksana Ostroverkhova

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Organic semiconductors have attracted considerable attention due to their applications in low-cost (opto)electronic devices. The most successful organic materials for applications that rely on charge carrier generation, such as solar cells, utilize blends of several types of molecules. In blends, the local environment strongly influences exciton and charge carrier dynamics. However, relationship between nanoscale features and photophysics is difficult to establish due to the lack of necessary spatial resolution. We use functionalized fluorinated pentacene (Pn) molecule as single molecule probes of intermolecular interactions and of the nanoscale environment in blends containing donor and acceptor molecules. Single Pn donor (D) molecules were imaged in PMMA in the presence of acceptor (A) molecules using wide-field fluorescence microscopy. Two sample configurations were realized: (i) a fixed concentration of Pn donor molecules, with increasing concentration of acceptor molecules (functionalized indenflouorene or PCBM) and (ii) a fixed concentration of acceptor molecules with an increased concentration of the Pn donor. The D-A energy transfer and changes in the donor emission due to those in the acceptor-modified polymer morphology were quantified. The increase in the acceptor concentration was accompanied by enhanced photobleaching and blinking of the Pn donor molecules. To better understand the underlying physics of these processes, we modeled photoexcited electron dynamics using Monte Carlo simulations. The simulated blinking dynamics were then compared to our experimental data, and the changes in the transition rates were related to the changes in the nanoscale environment. Our study provides insight into evolution of nanoscale environment during the formation of bulk heterojunctions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOrganic Photonic Materials and Devices XIX 2017
EditorsFrancois Kajzar, Toshikuni Kaino, Christopher E. Tabor, Yasuhiro Koike
ISBN (Electronic)9781510606432
StatePublished - 2017
EventOrganic Photonic Materials and Devices XIX 2017 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: Jan 30 2017Feb 1 2017

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceOrganic Photonic Materials and Devices XIX 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 SPIE.


  • Monte Carlo
  • Single molecule uorescence spectroscopy
  • organic semiconductors
  • photobleaching
  • uorescence intermittency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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