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Photoluminescence Imaging of Polyfluorene Surface Structures on Semiconducting Carbon Nanotubes: Implications for Thin Film Exciton Transport

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posted on 2016-12-06, 00:00 authored by Nicolai F. Hartmann, Rajib Pramanik, Anne-Marie Dowgiallo, Rachelle Ihly, Jeffrey L. Blackburn, Stephen K. Doorn
Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) have potential to act as light-harvesting elements in thin film photovoltaic devices, but performance is in part limited by the efficiency of exciton diffusion processes within the films. Factors contributing to exciton transport can include film morphology encompassing nanotube orientation, connectivity, and interaction geometry. Such factors are often defined by nanotube surface structures that are not yet well understood. Here, we present the results of a combined pump–probe and photoluminescence imaging study of polyfluorene (PFO)-wrapped (6,5) and (7,5) SWCNTs that provide additional insight into the role played by polymer structures in defining exciton transport. Pump–probe measurements suggest exciton transport occurs over larger length scales in films composed of PFO-wrapped (7,5) SWCNTs, compared to those prepared from PFO-bpy-wrapped (6,5) SWCNTs. To explore the role the difference in polymer structure may play as a possible origin of differing transport behaviors, we performed a photoluminescence imaging study of individual polymer-wrapped (6,5) and (7,5) SWCNTs. The PFO-bpy-wrapped (6,5) SWCNTs showed more uniform intensity distributions along their lengths, in contrast to the PFO-wrapped (7,5) SWCNTs, which showed irregular, discontinuous intensity distributions. These differences likely originate from differences in surface coverage and suggest the PFO wrapping on (7,5) nanotubes produces a more open surface structure than is available with the PFO-bpy wrapping of (6,5) nanotubes. The open structure likely leads to improved intertube coupling that enhances exciton transport within the (7,5) films, consistent with the results of our pump–probe measurements.

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