Physics of Neutral-to-Ionic Phase Transition in Organic Charge Transfer Semiconducting Compounds
H. Cailleau, M.H. Lemée-Cailleau, M. Le Cointe
Groupe Matière Condensée et Matériaux, UMR CNRS 6626, Université de Rennes 1, 35042 Rennes cedex, France

and T. Luty
Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, Technical University of Wrocław, Wybrzeże Wyspiańskiego 27, 50-370 Wrocław, Poland
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An uncommon excitonic instability takes place in some exotic semiconducting compounds. Indeed, the equilibrium neutral-to-ionic (N-I) phase transition, as well as the non-equilibrium photo-induced phase transformation, observed in some organic charge-transfer complexes, originate from intra- and inter-chain cooperative effects between structurally relaxed charge-transfer excitations. This electronic-structural phase transition manifests itself by a change of the degree of charge-transfer and a dimerization distortion with the formation of donor-acceptor pairs along the stacking axis in the I phase. Thermal charge-transfer excitations associated with the formation of I strings along N chains are at the heart of the mechanism of this phase transition. These relaxed electronic excitations, which are an intrinsic feature of low-dimensional systems with strong electron-phonon coupling, can be described in terms of self-trapping and self-multiplication of charge-transfer excitons. Precise structural studies on the prototype compound, tetrathiafulvalene-p-chloranil allow to highlight the respective role taken by the ionicity and the dimerization. Symmetry and thermodynamics analysis of the N-I transition, based on recent determination of the pressure-temperature phase diagram, make possible to present a consistent picture of this phase transition. Supported by theoretical considerations taking into account the interplay between quantum and thermal effects, the experimental observations show that the N-I transition results from the condensation and the ordering (crystallization) of charge-transfer excitations, following a phase diagram analogous to the solid-liquid-gas one.
DOI: 10.12693/APhysPolA.92.597
PACS numbers: 61.50.Ks, 71.35.Aa, 71.38.+i