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Division Science Day 2018

On the sunny day of 7th of June, Chemical Physics had a long-waited Division Science day. Held in Övedskloster castle with around 30 presenters, it was an inspiring and team-building event for everyone within the division.

Presented talks covered a wide range of topics, from Photosynthetic molecules through nanoparticles and quantum dots to perovskites. Interesting for more, you can find the full program in here.



New publication in the Nature Chemistry

The Zigmantas Group has published a new article in Journal of Nature Chemistry entitled "Identification and characterization of diverse coherences in the Fenna–Matthews–Olson complex"

"The idea that excitonic (electronic) coherences are of fundamental importance to natural photosynthesis gained popularity when slowly dephasing quantum beats (QBs) were observed in the two-dimensional electronic spectra of the Fenna–Matthews–Olson (FMO) complex at 77 K. These were assigned to superpositions of excitonic states, a controversial interpretation, as the strong chromophore–environment interactions in the complex suggest fast dephasing. Although it has been pointed out that vibrational motion produces similar spectral signatures, a concrete assignment of these oscillatory signals to distinct physical processes is still lacking. Here we revisit the coherence dynamics of the FMO complex using polarization-controlled two-dimensional electronic spectroscopy, supported by theoretical modelling. We show that the long-lived QBs are exclusively vibrational in origin, whereas the dephasing of the electronic coherences is completed within 240 fs even at 77 K. We further find that specific vibrational coherences are produced via vibronically coupled excited states. The presence of such states suggests that vibronic coupling is relevant for photosynthetic energy transfer."


New publication in the Journal of Physical Chemistry letters

The Zigmantas Group has published a new article in Journal of Physical Chemistry letters entitled "Origin of the Two Bands in the B800 Ring and Their Involvement in the Energy Transfer Network of Allochromatium vinosum"

"Bacterial photosynthesis features robust and adaptable energy-harvesting processes in which light-harvesting proteins play a crucial role. The peripheral lightharvesting complex of the purple bacterium Allochromatium vinosum is particularly distinct, featuring a double peak structure in its B800 absorption band. Two hypotheses - not necessarily mutually exclusive - concerning the origin of this splitting have been proposed; either two distinct B800 bacteriochlorophyll site energies are involved, or an excitonic dimerization of bacteriochlorophylls within the B800 ring takes place. Through the use of two-dimensional electronic spectroscopy, we present unambiguous evidence that excitonic interaction shapes the split band. We further identify and characterize all of the energy transfer pathways within this complex by using a global kinetic fitting procedure. Our approach demonstrates how the combination of two-dimensional spectral resolution and self-consistent fitting allows for extraction of information on light-harvesting processes, which would otherwise be inaccessible due to signal congestion."


New publication in Science Advances

Cancellation of the signals at the diagonal peak 12,500 cm−1 in the all-parallel measurement reveals the ETICS phenomenon.

The Zigmantas Group has published a new article in Science Advances entitled "Quantum coherence as a witness of vibronically hot energy transfer in bacterial reaction center"

"Photosynthetic proteins have evolved over billions of years so as to undergo optimal energy transfer to the sites of charge separation. On the basis of spectroscopically detected quantum coherences, it has been suggested that this energy transfer is partially wavelike. This conclusion depends critically on the assignment of the coherences to the evolution of excitonic superpositions. We demonstrate that, for a bacterial reaction center protein, long-lived coherent spectroscopic oscillations, which bear canonical signatures of excitonic superpositions, are essentially vibrational excited-state coherences shifted to the ground state of the chromophores. We show that the appearance of these coherences arises from a release of electronic energy during energy transfer. Our results establish how energy migrates on vibrationally hot chromophores in the reaction center, and they call for a reexamination of claims of quantum energy transfer in photosynthesis."


New publication in Nature Communications

Evolution of the PL intensity distribution over the nanowire NW#1.

The Scheblykin Group has published a new article in Nature Communications entitled "Defect-induced local variation of crystal phase transition temperature in metal-halide perovskites"

"Solution-processed organometal halide perovskites are hybrid crystalline semiconductors highly interesting for low-cost and efficient optoelectronics. Their properties are dependent on the crystal structure. Literature shows a variety of crystal phase transition temperatures and often a spread of the transition over tens of degrees Kelvin. We explain this inconsistency by demonstrating that the temperature of the tetragonal-to-orthorhombic phase transition in methylammonium lead triiodide depends on the concentration and nature of local defects. Phase transition in individual nanowires was studied by photoluminescence microspectroscopy and super-resolution imaging. We propose that upon cooling from 160 to 140 K, domains of the crystal containing fewer defects stay in the tetragonal phase longer than highly defected domains that readily transform to the high bandgap orthorhombic phase at higher temperatures. The existence of relatively pure tetragonal domains during the phase transition leads to drastic photoluminescence enhancement, which is inhomogeneously distributed across perovskite microcrystals."


New publication in Chemical Reviews

Researchers from Chemical Physics have published a new review article on "Ultrafast Electron Dynamics in Solar Energy Conversion"

"Electrons are the workhorses of solar energy conversion. Conversion of the energy of light to electricity in photovoltaics, or to energy-rich molecules (solar fuel) through photocatalytic processes, invariably starts with photoinduced generation of energy-rich electrons. The harvesting of these electrons in practical devices rests on a series of electron transfer processes whose dynamics and efficiencies determine the function of materials and devices. To capture the energy of a photogenerated electron–hole pair in a solar cell material, charges of opposite sign have to be separated against electrostatic attractions, prevented from recombining and being transported through the active material to electrodes where they can be extracted. In photocatalytic solar fuel production, these electron processes are coupled to chemical reactions leading to storage of the energy of light in chemical bonds. With the focus on the ultrafast time scale, we here discuss the light-induced electron processes underlying the function of several molecular and hybrid materials currently under development for solar energy applications in dye or quantum dot-sensitized solar cells, polymer–fullerene polymer solar cells, organometal halide perovskite solar cells, and finally some photocatalytic systems."


The Zigmantas Group has published a new article in Nature Communications entitled "Ultrafast coherence transfer in DNA-templated silver nanoclusters"

"DNA-templated silver nanoclusters of a few tens of atoms or less have come into prominence over the last several years due to very strong absorption and efficient emission. Applications in microscopy and sensing have already been realized, however little is known about the excited-state structure and dynamics in these clusters. Here we report on a multidimensional spectroscopy investigation of the energy-level structure and the early-time relaxation cascade, which eventually results in the population of an emitting state. We find that the ultrafast intramolecular relaxation is strongly coupled to a specific vibrational mode, resulting in the concerted transfer of population and coherence between excited states on a sub-100 fs timescale."


Swedish Organic Photovoltaics Meeting

Prof. Ivan Scheblykin and Prof. Petter Persson will be hosting a meeting on organic photovoltaics at the Chemistry Centre, Lund University on Thursday May 11 (10.30 - 18.00) and Friday May 12 (9.00-12.00). Visitors from groups in Linköping (Olle Inganäs, Fengling Zhang), Chalmers (Christian Muller, Ergang Wang), and Karlstad (Ellen Moons) will be present.

The talks will cover a broad spectrum of science from fundamental process in organic materials to device properties and their optimization.

Please save the dates if you are interested to participate in this event which, we hope will give us great opportunities for fruitful scientific discussions.


New publication in Nature Plants

Chl fluorescence of wild-type and NoM plants

The Zigmantas Group in collaboration with Roberto Bassi's group at University of Verona has published a new article in Nature Plants entitled "Two mechanisms for dissipation of excess light in monomeric and trimeric light-harvesting complexes"

"Oxygenic photoautotrophs require mechanisms for rapidly matching the level of chlorophyll excited states from light harvesting with the rate of electron transport from water to carbon dioxide. These photoprotective reactions prevent formation of reactive excited states and photoinhibition. The fastest response to excess illumination is the so-called non-photochemical quenching which, in higher plants, requires the luminal pH sensor PsbS and other yet unidentified components of the photosystem II antenna. Both trimeric light-harvesting complex II (LHCII) and monomeric LHC proteins have been indicated as site(s) of the heat-dissipative reactions. Different mechanisms have been proposed: energy transfer to a lutein quencher in trimers, formation of a zeaxanthin radical cation in monomers. Here, we report on the construction of a mutant lacking all monomeric LHC proteins but retaining LHCII trimers. Its non-photochemical quenching induction rate was substantially slower with respect to the wild type. A carotenoid radical cation signal was detected in the wild type, although it was lost in the mutant. We conclude that non-photochemical quenching is catalysed by two independent mechanisms, with the fastest activated response catalysed within monomeric LHC proteins depending on both zeaxanthin and lutein and on the formation of a radical cation. Trimeric LHCII was responsible for the slowly activated quenching component whereas inclusion in supercomplexes was not required. This latter activity does not depend on lutein nor on charge transfer events, whereas zeaxanthin was essential."


New publication in Nature

Iron complex exhibiting a long-lived emissive excited state

A group of researchers led by Pavel Chábera from Chemical Physics has published a new article in Nature entitled "A low-spin Fe(III) complex with 100-ps ligand-to-metal charge transfer photoluminescence"

" Transition-metal complexes are used as photosensitizers1, in light-emitting diodes, for biosensing and in photocatalysis2. A key feature in these applications is excitation from the ground state to a charge-transfer state3, 4; the long charge-transfer-state lifetimes typical for complexes of ruthenium5 and other precious metals are often essential to ensure high performance. There is much interest in replacing these scarce elements with Earth-abundant metals, with iron6 and copper7 being particularly attractive owing to their low cost and non-toxicity. But despite the exploration of innovative molecular designs6, 8, 9, 10, it remains a formidable scientific challenge11 to access Earth-abundant transition-metal complexes with long-lived charge-transfer excited states. No known iron complexes are considered12 photoluminescent at room temperature, and their rapid excited-state deactivation precludes their use as photosensitizers13, 14, 15. Here we present the iron complex [Fe(btz)3]3+ (where btz is 3,3′-dimethyl-1,1′-bis(p-tolyl)-4,4′-bis(1,2,3-triazol-5-ylidene)), and show that the superior σ-donor and π-acceptor electron properties of the ligand stabilize the excited state sufficiently to realize a long charge-transfer lifetime of 100 picoseconds (ps) and room-temperature photoluminescence. This species is a low-spin Fe(III) d5 complex, and emission occurs from a long-lived doublet ligand-to-metal charge-transfer (2LMCT) state that is rarely seen for transition-metal complexes4, 16, 17. The absence of intersystem crossing, which often gives rise to large excited-state energy losses in transition-metal complexes, enables the observation of spin-allowed emission directly to the ground state and could be exploited as an increased driving force in photochemical reactions on surfaces. These findings suggest that appropriate design strategies can deliver new iron-based materials for use as light emitters and photosensitizers. "


New publication in Nature Communications

(a) Photograph of the CH3NH3PbI3 single crystal annealed at 100 C. (b) Transient
reflectivity signal revealing coherent phonon oscillations arising from the coupling of photoexcited electrons to the lattce. Inset: Fourier transform
of the oscillatory component

The Yartsev Group has published a new article in Nature Communications entitled "Electron–acoustic phonon coupling in single crystal CH3NH3PbI3 perovskites revealed by coherent acoustic phonons"

"Despite the great amount of attention CH3NH3PbI3 has received for its solar cell application, intrinsic properties of this material are still largely unknown. Mobility of charges is a quintessential property in this aspect; however, there is still no clear understanding of electron transport, as reported values span over three orders of magnitude. Here we develop a method to measure the electron and hole deformation potentials using coherent acoustic phonons generated by femtosecond laser pulses. We apply this method to characterize a CH3NH3PbI3 single crystal. We measure the acoustic phonon properties and characterize electron-acoustic phonon scattering. Then, using the deformation potential theory, we calculate the carrier intrinsic mobility and compare it to the reported experimental and theoretical values. Our results reveal high electron and hole mobilities of 2,800 and 9,400 cm2 V−1 s−1, respectively. Comparison with literature values of mobility demonstrates the potential role played by polarons in charge transport in CH3NH3PbI3."


New publication in ACS Omega

The Scheblykin Group has published a new article in ACS Omega entitled Macroscopic Domains within an Oriented TQ1 Film Visualized Using 2D Polarization Imaging

"Large-area self-assembly of functional conjugated polymers holds a great potential for practical applications of organic electronic devices. We obtained well-aligned films of poly[2,3-bis(3-octyloxyphenyl)quinoxaline-5,8-diyl-alt-thiophene-2,5-diyl] (TQ1) using the floating film transfer method. Thereby, a droplet of the TQ1 solution was injected on top of the surface of an immiscible liquid substrate, at the meniscus formed at the edge of a Petri dish, from where the polymer solution and the film spread in one direction. Characterization of the TQ1 film using the recently developed two-dimensional polarization imaging (2D POLIM) revealed large, millimeter-sized domains of oriented polymer chains. The irregular shape of the contact line at the droplet source induced the appearance of disordered stripes perpendicular to the spreading direction. A correlation of polarization parameters measured using 2D POLIM revealed the microstructure of such stripes, providing valuable information for further improvement and possible upscaling of this promising method."