Lower limits for non-radiative recombination loss in organic donor/acceptor complexes

Yun Liu, Zilong Zheng, Veaceslav Coropceanu, Jean Luc Brédas, David S. Ginger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Understanding the factors controlling radiative and non-radiative transition rates for charge transfer states in organic systems is important for applications ranging from organic photovoltaics (OPV) to lasers and LEDs. We explore the role of charge-transfer (CT) energetics, lifetimes, and photovoltaic properties in the limit of very slow non-radiative rates by using a model donor/acceptor system with photoluminescence dominated by thermally activated delayed fluorescence (TADF). This blend exhibits an extremely high photoluminescence quantum efficiency (PLQY = ∼22%) and comparatively long PL lifetime, while simultaneously yielding appreciable amounts of free charge generation (photocurrent external quantum efficiency EQE of 24%). In solar cells, this blend exhibits non-radiative voltage losses of only ∼0.1 V, among the lowest reported for an organic system. Notably, we find that the non-radiative decay rate, knr, is on the order of 105 s-1, approximately 4-5 orders of magnitude slower than typical OPV blends, thereby confirming that high radiative efficiency and low non-radiative voltage losses are achievable by reducing knr. Furthermore, despite the high radiative efficiency and already comparatively slow knr, we find that knr is nevertheless much faster than predicted by Marcus-Levich-Jortner two-state theory and we conclude that CT-local exciton (LE) hybridization is present. Our findings highlight that it is crucial to evaluate how radiative and non-radiative rates of the LE states individually influence the PLQY of charge-transfer states, rather than solely focusing on the PLQY of the LE. This conclusion will guide material selection in achieving low non-radiative voltage loss in organic solar cells and high luminescence efficiency in organic LEDs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-333
Number of pages9
JournalMaterials Horizons
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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