Controlling Aggregation-Induced Two-Photon Absorption Enhancement via Intermolecular Interactions

Charles J. Zeman, Gyeongwon Kang, Kevin L. Kohlstedt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Historically, two-photon absorption (2PA) cross sections reported in the literature have been derived from solution-phase measurements. However, such techniques fail to grasp the implications of how these cross sections can be impacted by varying degrees of aggregation or in the condensed phase as bulk solids or thin films. For a precise determination of how aggregation impacts 2PA at a molecular level, computational methods present themselves as ideal. Herein, a series of quadrupolar π-conjugated dyes were simulated by molecular dynamics (MD) in the gas phase and condensed phase. In the condensed phase, their intermolecular interactions and electronic coupling behavior were fully characterized, both quantitatively and qualitatively. Using quadratic-response time-dependent density functional theory, 2PA cross sections of structures derived from MD trajectories were calculated. Comparisons are made between gas-phase and condensed-phase results, and enhancement factors are defined to show how certain dyes may experience changes in their respective 2PA cross sections as a function of aggregation. It was found that these cross sections depend heavily on conformational locking in the condensed phase and relative stacking arrangements. J-aggregates were associated with enhanced 2PA and H-aggregates with quenched 2PA activity. However, in a highly disordered aggregate, the effects of these stacking arrangements are averaged out of the bulk result, and the effects of conformational locking dominate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45644-45657
Number of pages14
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number40
StatePublished - Oct 12 2022


  • aggregation
  • donor-acceptor molecules
  • excited states
  • nonlinear optics
  • organic dyes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Controlling Aggregation-Induced Two-Photon Absorption Enhancement via Intermolecular Interactions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this