Impact of interfacial molecular orientation on radiative recombination and charge generation efficiency.
A long standing question in organic electronics concerns the effects of molecular orientation at donor/acceptor heterojunctions. Given a well-controlled donor/acceptor bilayer system, we uncover the genuine effects of molecular orientation on charge generation and recombination. These effects are studied through the point of view of photovoltaics-however, the results have important implications on the operation of all optoelectronic devices with donor/acceptor interfaces, such as light emitting diodes and photodetectors. Our findings can be summarized by two points. First, devices with donor molecules face-on to the acceptor interface have a higher charge transfer state energy and less non-radiative recombination, resulting in larger open-circuit voltages and higher radiative efficiencies. Second, devices with donor molecules edge-on to the acceptor interface are more efficient at charge generation, attributed to smaller electronic coupling between the charge transfer states and the ground state, and lower activation energy for charge generation.Molecular orientation profoundly affects the performance of donor-acceptor heterojunctions, whilst it has remained challenging to investigate the detail. Using a controllable interface, Ran et al. show that the edge-on geometries improve charge generation at the cost of non-radiative recombination loss.