Activated singlet exciton fission in a semiconducting polymer.
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Singlet exciton fission is a spin-allowed process to generate two triplet excitons from a single absorbed photon. This phenomenon offers great potential in organic photovoltaics, but the mechanism remains poorly understood. Most reports to date have addressed intermolecular fission within small-molecular crystals. However, through appropriate chemical design chromophores capable of intramolecular fission can also be produced. Here we directly observe sub-100 fs activated singlet fission in a semiconducting poly(thienylenevinylene). We demonstrate that fission proceeds directly from the initial 1Bu exciton, contrary to current models that involve the lower-lying 2Ag exciton. In solution, the generated triplet pairs rapidly recombine and decay through the 2Ag state. In films, exciton diffusion breaks this symmetry and we observe long-lived triplets which form charge-transfer states in photovoltaic blends.