3 research outputs found

    Why Holes and Electrons Separate So Well in Polymer/Fullerene Photovoltaic Cells

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    The electronic and geometric structure of a prototypical polymer/fullerene interface used in photovoltaic cells (P3HT/PCBM) is investigated theoretically using a combination of classical and quantum simulation methods. It is shown that the electronic structure of P3HT in contact with PCBM is significantly altered compared to bulk P3HT. Due to the additional free volume of the interface, P3HT chains close to PCBM are more disordered, and consequently, they are characterized by an increased band gap. Excitons and holes are therefore repelled by the interface. This provides a possible explanation of the low recombination efficiency and supports the direct formation of “quasi-free” charge-separated species at the interface

    Conformations and Effective Interactions of Polymer-Coated Nanoparticles at Liquid Interfaces

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    We investigate conformations and effective interactions of polymer-coated nanoparticles adsorbed at a model liquid–liquid interface via molecular dynamics simulations. The polymer shells strongly deform at the interface, with the shape governed by a balance between maximizing the decrease in interfacial area between the two solvent components, minimizing unfavorable contact between polymer and solvent, and maximizing the conformational entropy of the polymers. Using potential of mean force calculations, we compute the effective interaction between the nanoparticles at the liquid–liquid interface. We find that it differs quantitatively from the bulk and is significantly affected by the length of the polymer chains and by the solvent quality. Under good solvent conditions, the effective interactions are always repulsive and soft for long chains. The repulsion range decreases as the solvent quality decreases. In particular, under poor solvent conditions, short chains may fail to induce steric repulsion, leading to a net attraction between the nanoparticles, whereas with long-enough chains the effective interaction potential may feature an additional repulsive shoulder at intermediate distances

    Self-assembly of porphyrin nanostructures at the interface between two immiscible liquids

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    One of the many evolved functions of photosynthetic organisms is to synthesize light harvesting nanostructures from photoactive molecules such as porphyrins. Engineering synthetic analogues with optimized molecular order necessary for the efficient capture and harvest of light energy remains challenging. Here, we address this challenge by reporting the self-assembly of zinc(II) meso-tetrakis(4-carboxyphenyl)porphyrins into films of highly ordered nanostructures. The self-assembly process takes place selectively at the interface between two immiscible liquids (water|organic solvent), with kinetically stable interfacial nanostructures formed only at pH values close to the pKa of the carboxyphenyl groups. Molecular dynamics simulations suggest that the assembly process is driven by an interplay between the hydrophobicity gradient at the interface and hydrogen bonding in the formed nanostructure. Ex situ XRD analysis and in situ UV/vis and steady state fluorescence indicates the formation of chlathrate type nanostructures that retain the emission properties of their monomeric constituents. The self-assembly method presented here avoids the use of acidic conditions, additives such as surfactants and external stimuli, offering an alternative for the realization of light-harvesting antennas in artificial photosynthesis technologies