Publications (6)8.24 Total impact
Article: Dynamics and Mechanisms of Interfacial Photoinduced Electron Transfer Processes of Third Generation Photovoltaics and Photocatalysis[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Photoinduced electron transfer (PET) across molecular/bulk interfaces has gained attention only recently and is still poorly understood. These interfaces offer an excellent case study, pertinent to a variety of photovoltaic systems, photo- and electrochemistry, molecular electronics, analytical detection, photography, and quantum confinement devices. They play in particular a key role in the emerging fields of third-generation photovoltaic energy converters and artificial photosynthetic systems aimed at the production of solar fuels, creating a need for a better understanding and theoretical treatment of the dynamics and mechanisms of interfacial PET processes. We aim to achieve a fundamental understanding of these phenomena by designing experiments that can be used to test and alter modern theory and computational modeling. One example illustrating recent investigations into the details of the ultrafast processes that form the basis for photoinduced charge separation at a molecular/bulk interface relevant to dye-sensitized solar cells is briefly presented here: Kinetics of interfacial PET and charge recombination processes were measured by fs and ns transient spectroscopy in a heterogeneous donor-bridge-acceptor (D-B-A) system, where D is a RuII(terpyridyl-PO3)(NCS)3 complex, B an oligo-p-phenylene bridge, and A nanocrystalline TiO2. The forward ET reaction was found to be faster than vibrational relaxation of the vibronic excited state of the donor. Instead, the back ET occurred on the μs time scale and involved fully thermalized species. The D-A distance dependence of the electron transfer rate was studied by varying the number of p-phenylene units contained in the bridge moiety. The remarkably low damping factor β = 0.16 Å−1 observed for the ultrafast charge injection from the dye excited state into the conduction band of TiO2 is attributed to the coupling of electron tunneling with nonequilibrium vibrations redistributed on the bridge, giving rise to polaronic transport of charges from the donor ligand to the acceptor solid oxide surface.CHIMIA International Journal for Chemistry 08/2011; 65(9):704-709. · 1.21 Impact Factor
Article: Hot adsorbate-induced retardation of the internal thermalization of nonequilibrium electrons in adsorbate-covered metal nanoparticles.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Femtosecond transient absorption spectroscopy has been used to investigate the electron-electron scattering dynamics in sulfate-covered gold nanoparticles of 2.5 and 9.2 nm in diameter. We observe an unexpected retardation of the absolute internal thermalization time compared to bulk gold, which is attributed to a negative feedback by the vibrationally excited sulfate molecules. These hot adsorbates, acting as a transient energy reservoir, result from the back and forth inelastic scattering of metal nonequilibrium electrons into the pi orbital of the sulfate. The vibrationally excited adsorbates temporarily govern the dynamical behavior of nonequilibrium electrons in the metal by re-emitting hot electrons. In other terms, metal electrons reabsorb the energy deposited in the hot sulfates by a mechanism involving the charge resonance between the sulfate molecules and the gold NPs. The higher surface-to-volume ratio of sulfate-covered gold nanoparticles of 2.5 nm leads to a stronger inhibition of the internal thermalization. Interestingly, we also note an analogy between the mechanism described here for the slow-down of electron-electron scattering in metal nanoparticles by the hot adsorbates and the hot phonon-induced retardation of hot charge carriers cooling in semiconductors.The Journal of Physical Chemistry B 04/2006; 110(10):4519-23. · 3.70 Impact Factor
Article: Ultrafast chemical interface scattering as an additional decay channel for nascent nonthermal electrons in small metal nanoparticles.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The use of 4.2 nm gold nanoparticles wrapped in an adsorbates shell and embedded in a TiO2 metal oxide matrix gives the opportunity to investigate ultrafast electron-electron scattering dynamics in combination with electronic surface phenomena via the surface plasmon lifetimes. These gold nanoparticles (NPs) exhibit a large nonclassical broadening of the surface plasmon band, which is attributed to a chemical interface damping. The acceleration of the loss of surface plasmon phase coherence indicates that the energy and the momentum of the collective electrons can be dissipated into electronic affinity levels of adsorbates. As a result of the preparation process, gold NPs are wrapped in a shell of sulfate compounds that gives rise to a large density of interfacial molecules confined between Au and TiO2, as revealed by Fourier-transform-infrared spectroscopy. A detailed analysis of the transient absorption spectra obtained by broadband femtosecond transient absorption spectroscopy allows separating electron-electron and electron-phonon interaction. Internal thermalization times (electron-electron scattering) are determined by probing the decay of nascent nonthermal electrons (NNEs) and the build-up of the Fermi-Dirac electron distribution, giving time constants of 540 to 760 fs at 0.42 and 0.34 eV from the Fermi level, respectively. Comparison with literature data reveals that lifetimes of NNEs measured for these small gold NPs are more than four times longer than for silver NPs with similar sizes. The surprisingly long internal thermalization time is attributed to an additional decay mechanism (besides the classical e-e scattering) for the energy loss of NNEs, identified as the ultrafast chemical interface scattering process. NNEs experience an inelastic resonant scattering process into unoccupied electronic states of adsorbates, that directly act as an efficient heat bath, via the excitation of molecular vibrational modes. The two-temperature model is no longer valid for this system because of (i) the temporal overlap between the internal and external thermalization process is very important; (ii) a part of the photonic energy is directly transferred toward the adsorbates (not among "cold" conduction band electrons). These findings have important consequence for femtochemistry on metal surfaces since they show that reactions can be initiated by nascent nonthermal electrons (as photoexcited, out of a Fermi-Dirac distribution) besides of the hot electron gas.The Journal of Chemical Physics 06/2004; 120(19):9302-15. · 3.33 Impact Factor
Article: Electron donor-acceptor distance dependence of the dynamics of light-induced interfacial charge transfer in the dye-sensitization of nanocrystalline oxide …[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The effect of electronic and nuclear factors on the dynamics of dye-to-semiconductor electron transfer was studied employing Ru II (terpy)(NCS) 3 sensitizers grafted onto transparent films made of titanium dioxide nanoparticles. Various approaches were strived to understand the dependence of the kinetics of charge injection and recombination processes upon the distance separating the dye molecules and the redox active surface. A series of bridged sensitizers containing p-phenylene spacers of various lengths and phosphonic anchoring groups were adsorbed onto TiO 2 films. The kinetics of interfacial charge transfer was recorded by use of time-resolved spectroscopy in the fs-ps domain. The electron injection process was found to be biphasic with a clear exponential distance dependence of the fast kinetic component. The slower part of the kinetics was essentially unaffected by the length of the spacer bridge and was attributed to sensitizer molecules that are weakly bound to the surface with no direct contact of the anchoring group with the semiconductor. In a second approach, the kinetics of both forward-and back-electron transfer across a layer of insulating Al 2 O 3 deposited onto TiO 2 nanocrystalline particles was investigated. Efficient charge injection was observed over distances up to 3 nm.
Article: Ultrafast charge transfer through p-oligo(phenylene) bridges: effect of nonequilibrium vibrations[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Electron transfers (ET) between a donor (D) and an acceptor (A) through a molecular bridge (B) are of great importance in biological systems, molecular electronics and molecular based light-energy conversion systems. Here, the back and the forward electron transfer rates have been measured by femtosecond and nanosecond spectroscopy in a heterogeneous donor-bridge-acceptor (D-B-A) system, where D = ruthenium terpyridine complex, B = p-oligo(phenylene) and A = TiO2. The forward ET rate (from 0.85 to 3.7 ps-1) is faster than the nonequilibrium vibrations relaxation rate of the hot 3MLCT (metal-to-ligand charge transfer) state of the donor (12 ps-1 in solution). The back ET occurs on the microsecond time scale. Regarding the distance dependence behaviour, damping factors 0.16 and 0.47 Å-1 of the forward and the back ET respectively are obtained. These results confirm that the damping factor is not only linked to the nature of the molecular bridge but to the full D-B-A system. This unusual low damping factor observed for the forward ET is attributed to a decrease of the tunnelling energy gap DE, which is induced by the nonequilibrium vibrations at the donor-bridge interface. This enhanced electron transmission is briefly discussed within the concept of a nonequilibrium polaron relaxation towards the dissipative acceptor. In this case, the dissipation of the excess vibrational energy and the electron transfer occur in a synchronized cooperative way.
Article: Size dependence investigations of hot electron cooling dynamics in metal/adsorbates nanoparticles[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The size dependence of electron–phonon coupling rate has been investigated by femtosecond transient absorption spectroscopy for gold nanoparticles (NPs) wrapped in a shell of sulfate with diameter varying from 1.7 to 9.2 nm. Broad-band spectroscopy gives an overview of the complex dynamics of nonequilibrium electrons and permits the choice of an appropriate probe wavelength for studying the electron–phonon coupling dynamics. Ultrafast experiments were performed in the weak perturbation regime (less than one photon in average per nanoparticle), which allows the direct extraction of the hot electron cooling rates in order to compare different NPs sizes under the same conditions. Spectroscopic data reveals a decrease of hot electron energy loss rates with metal/adsorbates nanosystem sizes. Electron–phonon coupling time constants obtained for 9.2 nm NPs are similar to gold bulk materials (∼1 ps) whereas an increase of hot electron cooling time up to 1.9 ps is observed for sizes of 1.7 nm. This is rationalized by the domination of surface effects over size (bulk) effects. The slow hot electron cooling is attributed to the adsorbates-induced long-lived nonthermal regime, which significantly reduces the electron–phonon coupling strength (average rate of phonon emission).Chemical Physics.
École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
Lausanne, VD, Switzerland
- • Institut des sciences et ingénierie chimiques
- • Laboratoire d'électrochimie physique et analytique