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MAPEX Research Highlights

Intermolecular conical intersections in molecular aggregates

Antonietta De Sio, Ephraim Sommer, Xuan Trung Nguyen, Lynn Groß, Duško Popović, Benjamin Tyler Nebgen, Sebastian Fernandez-Alberti, Stefano Pittalis, Carlo Andrea Rozzi, Elisa Molinari, Elena Mena-Osteritz, Peter Bäuerle, Thomas Frauenheim, Sergei Tretiak & Christoph Lienau

Nat. Nanotechnol. (2020).

doi: 10.1038/s41565-020-00791-2

Press release of the University of Bremen

Conical intersections (CoIns) of multidimensional potential energy surfaces are ubiquitous in nature and control pathways and yields of many photo-initiated intramolecular processes. Such topologies can be potentially involved in the energy transport in aggregated molecules or polymers but are yet to be uncovered. Here, using ultrafast two-dimensional electronic spectroscopy (2DES), we reveal the existence of intermolecular CoIns in molecular aggregates relevant for photovoltaics. Ultrafast, sub-10-fs 2DES tracks the coherent motion of a vibrational wave packet on an optically bright state and its abrupt transition into a dark state via a CoIn after only 40 fs. Non-adiabatic dynamics simulations identify an intermolecular CoIn as the source of these unusual dynamics. Our results indicate that intermolecular CoIns may effectively steer energy pathways in functional nanostructures for optoelectronics.

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