Energy relaxation dynamics and universal scaling laws in organic light-emitting diodes



Electron–hole (e–h) capture in luminescent conjugated polymers (LCPs) is modeled by the dissipative dynamics of a multilevel electronic system coupled to a phonon bath. Electroinjected e–h pairs are simulated by a mixed quantum state, which relaxes via phonon-driven internal conversions to low-lying charge-transfer (CT) and excitonic (XT) states. The underlying two-band polymer model reflects PPV and spans monoexcited configuration interaction singlets (S) and triplets (T), coupled to Franck–Condon active C[DOUBLE BOND]C stretches and ring torsions. Focusing entirely upon long PPV chains, we consider the recombination kinetics of an initially separated CT pair. Our model calculations indicate that S and T recombination proceeds according to a branched, two-step mechanism dictated by near e–h symmetry. The initial relaxation occurs rapidly with nearly half of the population going into excitons (SXT or TXT), while the remaining portion remains locked in metastable CT states. While formation rates of SCT and TCT are nearly equal, SXT is formed about twice as fast TXT in concurrence with experimental observations of these systems. Further, breaking e–h symmetry suppresses the XT to CT branching ratio for triplets and opens a slow CT → XT conversion channel exclusively for singlets due to dipole–dipole interactions between geminate and nongeminate configurations. Finally, our calculations yield a remarkable linear relation between chain length and singlet/triplet branching ratio that can be explained in terms of the binding energies of the respective final excitonic states and the scaling of singlet–triplet energy gap with chain length. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Quantum Chem, 2003