A better understanding of the carrier formation process in photosemiconducting polymers is crucial to design and construct highly functionalized thin film organic photodevices. Almost all studies published focus on the effect of structure on the photoinduced carrier formation process. Here, we study the dynamics of polymer chain impacts on the carrier formation process for a series of poly(3-alkylthiophene)s (P3ATs) with different alkyl side-chain lengths. The formation of polarons (P) from polaron pairs (PP) was accelerated at a temperature at which the twisting motion of thiophene rings occurs. Among all P3ATs employed, in P3AT with hexyl groups, or poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT), it was easiest to twist the thiophene rings and generate P from PP. The activation energy for P formation was proportional to that of thiophene ring motion. This makes it clear that chain dynamics, in addition to the crystalline structure, is a controlling factor for the carrier formation process in photosemiconducting polymers.
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