Physics & Astronomy ETDs

Publication Date



This dissertation details work done on two different descriptions of charge transport. The first topic is energetic disorder in organic semiconductors, and its effect on charge transport. This is motivated primarily by solar cells, which can be broadly classified as either inorganic or organic. The inorganic class of solar cells is older, and more well-developed, with the most common type being constructed from crystalline silicon. The large silicon crystals required for these cells are expensive to manufacture, which gave rise to interest in photovoltaic cells made from much less costly organic polymers. These organic materials are also less efficient than their silicon counterparts, due to a large degree of spatial and energetic disorder. In this document, the sources and structure of energetic disorder in organic semiconductors are explored, with an emphasis on spatial correlations in energetic disorder. In order for an organic photovoltaic device to function, there must be photogeneration of an exciton (a bound electron-hole pair), exciton transport, exciton dissociation, and transport of the individual charges to their respective terminals. In the case of this thesis, the main focus is exciton dissociation. The effects of correlation on exciton dissociation are examined through computer simulation, and compared to the theory and simulations of previous researchers. We conclude that energetic disorder in organic semiconductors is spatially correlated, and that this correlation improves the ability of excitons to dissociate. The second topic of this dissertation is the Fragment Hamiltonian model. This is a model currently in development as a means of describing charge transport across a range of systems. Currently there are many different systems which exhibit various charge transport behaviors, which are described by several different models. The overarching goal of the Fragment Hamiltonian model is to construct a description of charge transport which accurately describes the behavior of multiple different materials (i.e. metallic conductors or ceramic insulators) in the appropriate limits. The Fragment Hamiltonian model is explored in the context of the tight-binding model, and properties such as the conductivity of several different systems are deduced.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Physics & Astronomy

First Advisor

Dunlap, David

First Committee Member (Chair)

Valone, Steve

Second Committee Member

Atlas, Susan

Third Committee Member

Schwoebel, Paul

Fourth Committee Member

Qin, Yang




Tight-Binding, Condensed Matter Physics

Document Type