Chiral excitonic organic photodiodes for direct detection of circular polarized light

Matthias Schulz, Frank Balzer, Dorothea Scheunemann, Oriol Arteaga, Arne Lützen, Stefan C.J. Meskers, Manuela Schiek (Corresponding author)

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A facile route to soft matter self-powered bulk heterojunction photodiode detectors sensitive to the circular polarization state of light is shown based on the intrinsic excitonic circular dichroism of the photoactive layer blend. As light detecting materials, enantiopure semiconducting small molecular squaraine derivates of opposite handedness are employed. Via Mueller matrix ellipsometry, the circular dichroism is proven to be of H-type excitonic nature and not originating from mesoscopic structural ordering. Within the green spectral range, the photodiodes convert circular polarized light into a handedness-dependent photocurrent with a maximum dissymmetry factor of ±0.1 corresponding to 5% overall efficiency for the polarization discrimination under short circuit conditions. On the basis of transfer matrix optical simulations, it is rationalized that the optical dissymmetry fully translates into a photocurrent dissymmetry for ease of device design. Thereby, the photodiode's ability to efficiently distinguish between left and right circularly polarized light without the use of external optical elements and voltage bias is demonstrated. This allows a straightforward and sustainable future design of flexible, lightweight, and compact integrated platforms for chiroptical imaging and sensing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1900684
Number of pages7
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number16
Early online date6 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 18 Apr 2019


  • chiral organic semiconductors
  • circular polarized light
  • excitonic circular dichroism
  • Mueller matrix ellipsometry
  • photovoltaic photodetectors


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