Exciton diffusion in disordered small molecules for organic photovoltaics: insights from first-principles simulations

Exciton diffusion in small molecules 3,6-bis(5-(benzofuran-2-yl)thiophen-2-yl)-2,5-bis(2-ethylhexyl)pyrrolo[3,4-c]pyrrole-1,4-dione [DPP(TBFu)2] is studied using first-principles simulations. We have examined dependence of exciton diffusion on structure disorder, temperature and exciton energy. We find that exciton diffusion length and diffusivity increase with structural order, temperature and the initial exciton energy. Compared to conjugated polymer poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT), DPP(TBFu)2 small molecules exhibit a much higher exciton diffusivity, but a shorter lifetime. The exciton diffusion length in DPP(TBFu)2 is 50% longer than that in P3HT, yielding a higher exciton harvesting efficiency; the physical origin behind these differences is discussed. The time evolutions of exciton energy, electron-hole distance, and exciton localization are explored, and the widely speculated exciton diffusion mechanism is confirmed theoretically. The connection between exciton diffusion and carrier mobilities is also studied. Finally we point out the possibility to estimate exciton diffusivity by measuring carrier mobilities under AC electric fields.