Essential states model for merocyanine dye stacks: bridging electronic and optical absorption properties

David Bialas, Chuwei Zhong, F. Würthner, Frank C. Spano

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An extension of the essential states model is developed to investigate the absorption and electronic properties of a highly dipolar merocyanine dye and double and quadruple π-stacks formed upon the folding and self-assembly of appropriate spacer-tethered bis(merocyanine) dyes. Our analysis reveals that a simple two-state model is not sufficient to adequately describe the absorption features of a single chromophore. However, by including an additional bridge state, the absorption features are well described and reasonable values for the permanent and transition dipole moments are obtained. We show that the low-energy absorption band of the folded double stack results from vibronic coupling, whereas the additional absorption shoulder observed in the spectrum of the self-assembled quadruple stack is due to a transition to a lower excited state. Furthermore, the chromophores within both π-stacks exhibit an increase in the charge-transfer character in the ground state with respect to the single chromophore arising from polarizability effects, which are not accounted for in the conventional Frenkel exciton theory. These insights are of significant importance for the proper design of functional materials based on merocyanines and dipolar chromophores in general.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18654-18664
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number30
StatePublished - Aug 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • General Energy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films

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