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Title: Ultrafast electronic processes at nanoscale organic-inorganic semiconductor interfaces
Author: Parkinson, Patrick
ISNI:       0000 0004 2672 5755
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis is concerned with the influence of nanoscale boundaries and interfaces upon the electronic processes that occur within both organic and inorganic semiconductors. Photoluminescent polymers, highly conducting polymers and nanoscale inorganic semiconductors have been investigated using state-of-the-art ultrafast optical techniques, to provide information on the sub-picosecond photoexcitation dynamics in these systems. The influence of dimensionality on the excitation transfer dynamics in a conjugated polymer blend is studied. Using time-resolved photoluminescence spectroscopy, the transfer transients both for a three-dimensional blend film, and for quasi-two-dimensional monolayers formed through intercalation of the polymer blend between the crystal planes of a SnS2 matrix have been measured. A comparison of the experimental data with a simple, dimensionality-dependent model is presented, based on point dipole electronic coupling between electronic transition moments. Within this approximation, the energy transfer dynamics are found to adopt a three-dimensional character in the solid film, and a two-dimensional nature in the monolayers present in the SnS2 -polymer nanocomposite. The time-resolved conductivity of isolated GaAs nanowires has been investigated by optical-pump terahertz-probe time-domain spectroscopy. The electronic response exhibits a pronounced surface plasmon mode that forms within 300 fs, before decaying within 10 ps as a result of charge trapping at the nanowire surface. The mobility has been extracted using the Drude model for a plasmon and is found to be remarkably high, being roughly one third of that typical for bulk GaAs at room-temperature and indicating the high quality and low bulk defect density in the nanowires studied. Finally, the time-resolved conductivity dynamics of photoexcited polymer-fullerene bulk heterojunction blends for two model polymers, P3HT and MDMO-PPV, blended with PCBM are presented. The observed terahertz-frequency conductivity is characteristic of dispersive charge transport for photoexcitation both at the π−π* absorption peak (560 nm for P3HT), and significantly below it (800 nm). The photoconductivity at 800 nm is unexpectedly high, which is attributed to the presence of a charge transfer complex. In addition, the excitation-fluence dependence of the photoconductivity is studied over more than four orders of magnitude. The time-averaged photoconductivity of the P3HT:PCBM blend is over 20 times larger than that of P3HT, indicating that long-lived positive polarons are responsible for the high photovoltaic efficiency of polymer:fullerene blends. At early times (~ ps) the linear dependence of photoconductivity upon fluence indicates that interfacial charge transfer dominates as an exciton decay pathway, generating charges with mobility of at least ~0.1cm2 V−1 s−1. At later times, a sub-linear relationship shows that carrier-carrier recombination effects influence the conductivity on a longer timescale (> 1 μs).
Supervisor: Herz, Laura M. Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Condensed Matter Physics ; Surface nanoscience ; Semiconductors ; Nanostructures ; Laser Spectroscopy ; Nanomaterials ; Supramolecular chemistry ; Ultrafast spectroscopy ; nanoscale interfaces ; semiconductor heterojunctions ; organic photovoltaics ; time-resolved conductivity ; semiconducting polymer ; photoluminescence spectroscopy ; terahertz spectroscopy