Molecular sensitization of semiconductor films is an important technology for energy and environmental applications including solar energy conversion, photocatalytic hydrogen production, and water purification. Dye-sensitized films are also scientifically complex and interesting systems with a long history of research. In most applications, photoinduced heterogeneous electron transfer (HET) at the molecule/semiconductor interface is of critical importance, and while great progress has been made in understanding HET, many open questions remain. Of particular interest is the role of combined electronic and vibrational effects and coherence of the dye during HET. The ultrafast nature of the process, the rapid intramolecular vibrational energy redistribution, and vibrational cooling present complications in the study of vibronic coupling in HET. We present the application of a time domain vibrational spectroscopy - pump-degenerate four-wave mixing (pump-DFWM) - to dye-sensitized solid-state semiconductor films. Pump-DFWM can measure Raman-active vibrational modes that are triggered by excitation of the sample with an actinic pump pulse. Modifications to the instrument for solid-state samples and its application to an anatase TiO2 film sensitized by a Zn-porphyrin dye are discussed. We show an effective combination of experimental techniques to overcome typical challenges in measuring solid-state samples with laser spectroscopy and observe molecular vibrations following HET in a picosecond time window. The cation spectrum of the dye shows modes that can be assigned to the linker group and a mode that is localized on the Zn-phorphyrin chromophore and that is connected to photoexcitation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry