Atomistic Time-Domain Simulations of Light-Harvesting and Charge-Transfer Dynamics in Novel Nanoscale Materials for Solar Hydrogen Production.

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Funded by the DOE grant (i) we continued to study and analyze the atomistic detail of the electron transfer (ET) across the chromophore-TiO2 interface in Gratzel cell systems for solar hydrogen production. (ii) We extensively investigated the nature of photoexcited states and excited state dynamics in semiconductor quantum dots (QD) designed for photovoltaic applications. (iii) We continued a newly initiated research direction focusing on excited state properties and electron-phonon interactions in nanoscale carbon materials. Over the past year, the results of the DOE funded research were summarized in 3 review articles. 12 original manuscripts were written. The research results were ... continued below

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Prezhdo, Oleg V. March 22, 2012.

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Funded by the DOE grant (i) we continued to study and analyze the atomistic detail of the electron transfer (ET) across the chromophore-TiO2 interface in Gratzel cell systems for solar hydrogen production. (ii) We extensively investigated the nature of photoexcited states and excited state dynamics in semiconductor quantum dots (QD) designed for photovoltaic applications. (iii) We continued a newly initiated research direction focusing on excited state properties and electron-phonon interactions in nanoscale carbon materials. Over the past year, the results of the DOE funded research were summarized in 3 review articles. 12 original manuscripts were written. The research results were reported in 28 invited talks at conferences and university seminars. 20 invitations were accepted for talks in the near future. 2 symposia at national and international meetings have being organized this year on topics closely related to the DOE funded project, and 2 more symposia have been planned for the near future. We summarized the insights into photoinduced dynamics of semiconductor QDs, obtained from our time-domain ab initio studies. QDs exhibit both molecular and bulk properties. Unlike either bulk or molecular materials, QD properties can be modified continuously by changing QD shape and size. However, the chemical and physical properties of molecular and bulk materials often contradict each other, which can lead to differing viewpoints about the behavior of QDs. For example, the molecular view suggests strong electron-hole and charge-phonon interactions, as well as slow energy relaxation due to mismatch between electronic energy gaps and phonon frequencies. In contrast, the bulk view advocates that the kinetic energy of quantum confinement is greater than electron-hole interactions, that charge-phonon coupling is weak, and that the relaxation through quasi-continuous bands is rapid. By synthesizing the bulk and molecular viewpoints, we clarified the controversies and provided a unified atomistic picture of the nature and dynamics of photoexcited states in semiconductor QDs. We also summarized our recent findings about the photoinduced electron dynamics at the chromophore-semiconductor interfaces from a time-domain ab initio perspective. The interface provides the foundation for a new, promising type of solar cell and presents a fundamentally important case study for several fields, including photo-, electro- and analytical chemistries, molecular electronics, and photography. Further, the interface offers a classic example of an interaction between an organic molecular species and an inorganic bulk material. Scientists employ different concepts and terminologies to describe molecular and solid states of matter, and these differences make it difficult to describe the interface with a single model. At the basic atomistic level of description, however, this challenge can be largely overcome. Recent advances in non-adiabatic molecular dynamics and time-domain density functional theory have created a unique opportunity for simulating the ultrafast, photoinduced processes on a computer very similar to the way that they occur in nature. These state-of-the-art theoretical tools offered a comprehensive picture of a variety of electron transfer processes that occur at the interface, including electron injection from the chromophore to the semiconductor, electron relaxation and delocalization inside the semiconductor, back-transfer of the electron to the chromophore and to the electrolyte, and regeneration of the neutral chromophore by the electrolyte. The ab initio time-domain modeling is particularly valuable for understanding these dynamic features of the ultrafast electron transfer processes, which cannot be represented by a simple rate description. We demonstrated using symmetry adapted cluster theory with configuration interaction (SAC-CI) that charging of small PbSe nanocrystals (NCs) greatly modifies their electronic states and optical excitations. Conduction and valence band transitions that are not available in neutral NCs dominate low energy electronic excitations and show weak optical activity. At higher energies these transitions mix with both single excitons (SEs) and multiple excitons (MEs) associated with transitions across the band-gap. As a result, both SEs and MEs are significantly blue-shifted, and ME generation is drastically hampered. The overall contribution of MEs to the electronic excitations of the charged NCs is small even at very high energies. The calculations supported the recent view that the observed strong dependence of the ME yields on the experimental conditions is likely due to the effects of NC charging. The electron-hole excitonic nature of high energy states was investigated in neutral and charged Si clusters, motivated by the ME generation (MEG) process that is highly debated in photovoltaic literature.

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  • Report No.: DOE/05ER15755-1
  • Grant Number: FG02-05ER15755
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1036878
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc833646

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  • March 22, 2012

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  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • Dec. 9, 2016, 3:28 p.m.

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Prezhdo, Oleg V. Atomistic Time-Domain Simulations of Light-Harvesting and Charge-Transfer Dynamics in Novel Nanoscale Materials for Solar Hydrogen Production., text, March 22, 2012; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc833646/: accessed November 15, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.