Molecular-scale understanding of electronic polarization in organic molecular crystals
Ryno, Sean Michael
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Organic electronic materials, possessing conjugated π-systems, are extensively used as the active layers in organic electronic devices, where they are responsible for charge transport. In this dissertation, we employ a combination of quantum-mechanical and molecular- mechanics methods to provide insight into how molecular structure, orientation, packing, and local molecular environment influence the energetic landscape experienced by an excess charge in these organic electronic materials. We begin with an overview of charge transport in organic electronic materials with a focus on electronic polarization while discussing recent models, followed by a review of the computational methods employed throughout our investigations. We provide a bottom-up approach to the problem of describing electronic polarization by first laying the framework of our model and comparing calculated properties of bulk materials to available experimental data and previously proposed models. We then explore the effects of changing the electronic structure of our systems though perfluorination, and investigate the effects of modifying the crystalline packing through the addition of bulky functional groups while investigating how the non-bonded interactions between molecular neighbors change in different packing motifs. As interfaces are common in organic electronics and important processes such as charge transport and charge separation occur at these interfaces, we model organic-vacuum and organic-organic interfaces to determine the effect changing the environment from bulk to interface has on the electronic polarization. We first investigate the effects of removing polarizable medium adjacent to the charge carrier and then, by modeling a realistic organic- organic interface in a model solar cell, probe the environment of each molecular site at the interface to gain a more complete understanding of the complex energetic landscape. Finally, we conclude with a study of the non-bonded interactions in linear oligoacene dimers, model π-conjugated materials, to assess the impact of dimer configuration and acene length on the intermolecular interaction energy, and highlight the importance of dispersion and charge penetration to these systems.