Influence of Vibronic Coupling on Ultrafast Singlet Fission in a Linear Terrylenediimide Dimer

Jonathan D. Schultz, Jae Yoon Shin, Michelle Chen, James P. O'Connor, Ryan M. Young, Mark A. Ratner, Michael R. Wasielewski*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Singlet fission (SF) is a photophysical process capable of boosting the efficiency of solar cells. Recent experimental investigations into the mechanism of SF provide evidence for coherent mixing between the singlet, triplet, and charge transfer basis states. Up until now, this interpretation has largely focused on electronic interactions; however, nuclear motions resulting in vibronic coupling have been suggested to support rapid and efficient SF in organic chromophore assemblies. Further information about the complex interactions between vibronic excited states is needed to understand the potential role of this coupling in SF. Here, we report mixed singlet and correlated triplet pair states giving rise to sub-50 fs SF in a terrylene-3,4:11,12-bis(dicarboximide) (TDI) dimer in which the two TDI molecules are covalently linked by a direct N-N connection at one of their imide positions, leading to a linear dimer with perpendicular TDI πsystems. We observe the transfer of low-frequency coherent wavepackets between the initial predominantly singlet states to the product triplet-dominated states. This implies a non-negligible dependence of SF on nonadiabatic coupling in this dimer. We interpret our experimental results in the framework of a modified Holstein Hamiltonian, which predicts that vibronic interactions between low-frequency singlet modes and high-frequency correlated triplet pair motions lead to mixing of the pure basis states. These results highlight how nonadiabatic mixing can shape the complex potential energy landscape underlying ultrafast SF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2049-2058
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 3 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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