The efficiency of solar cells may be increased by utilizing photons with energies below the band gap of the absorber. This may be enabled by upconversion of low energy photons into high energy photons via triplet–triplet annihilation (TTA) in organic chromophores. The quantum yield of TTA is often low due to competing processes. The singlet pathway, where a high energy photon is emitted, is one of three possible outcomes of an encounter between two triplet excitons. The quintet pathway is often too high in energy to be accessible, leaving the triplet pathway as the main competing process. Using many-body perturbation theory in the GW approximation and the Bethe–Salpeter equation, we calculate the energy release in both the singlet and triplet pathways for 59 chromophores of different chemical families. We find that in most cases the triplet pathway is open and has a larger energy release than the singlet pathway. Thus, the energetics perspective explains why there are so few TTA emitters and why the quantum yield of TTA is typically low. That said, our results also indicate that the performance of emitters from known chemical families may be improved by chemical modifications, such as functionalization with side groups, and thatmore »
An energetics assessment of benzo[ a ]tetracene and benzo[ a ]pyrene as triplet–triplet annihilation emitters
Optical upconversion (UC) of low energy photons into high energy photons enables solar cells to harvest photons with energies below the band gap of the absorber, reducing the transmission loss. UC based on triplet–triplet annihilation (TTA) in organic chromophores can upconvert photons from sunlight, albeit with low conversion efficiency. We utilize three energy-based criteria to assess the UC potential of TTA emitters in terms of the quantum yield (QY) and the anti-Stokes shift. The energy loss in the singlet pathway of an emitter encounter complex, where a high energy photon is emitted, determines whether a chromophore may undergo TTA. The energy loss in the triplet pathway, which is the main competing process, impacts the TTA QY. The energy difference between the lowest singlet and triplet excitation states in TTA emitters sets an upper bound for the anti-Stokes shift of TTA-UC. Using the energetic criteria evaluated by time-dependent density functional theory (TDDFT) calculations, we find that benzo[ a ]tetracene, benzo[ a ]pyrene, and their derivatives are promising TTA emitters. The energetics assessment and computer simulations could be used to efficiently discover and design more candidate high-performance TTA emitters.
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- Molecular Systems Design & Engineering
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- National Science Foundation
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