Congratulations to our colleague Samuel Beaulieu at CELIA
for his publication in Nature !

Orbital-resolved observation of singlet fission
A. Neef et al, Nature 616, 275 (2023)


Singlet fission may boost photovoltaic efficiency by transforming a singlet exciton into two triplet excitons and thereby doubling the number of excited charge carriers. The primary step of singlet fission is the ultrafast creation of the correlated triplet pair. Whereas several mechanisms have been proposed to explain this step, none has emerged as a consensus. The challenge lies in tracking the transient excitonic states. Here we use time- and angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy to observe the primary step of singlet fission in crystalline pentacene. Our results indicate a charge-transfer mediated mechanism with a hybridization of Frenkel and charge-transfer states in the lowest bright singlet exciton. We gained intimate knowledge about the localization and the orbital character of the exciton wave functions recorded in momentum maps. This allowed us to directly compare the localization of singlet and bitriplet excitons and decompose energetically overlapping states on the basis of their orbital character. Orbital- and localization-resolved many-body dynamics promise deep insights into the mechanics governing molecular systems and topological materials.