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TOMATTO, the European project that aims to capture electrons in motion


The project “TomATTO” -The ultimate Time scale in Organic Molecular opto-electronics, the ATTOsecond- is born with the purpose of looking in an ultrashort time scale, the attosecond, to capture movement of the electrons in molecules. This ambitious project aims to understand the complexity of photo-induced charge transfer and optimise the design of new organic materials towards their application in solar cells. The design of new tailored materials would mean a major technological leap that could eventually meet the pressing demand of producing energy in a sustainable way.

The mission of TOMATTO

Photoinduced electron transfer (ET) and charge transfer (CT) processes occurring in organic materials are the cornerstone of technologies aiming at the conversion of solar energy into electrical energy and at its efficient transport. The TOMATTO project plans to take a closer look at this problem through advances in three areas 1) attosecond science, 2) organic synthesis and 3) computational modelling. The objective is to provide clear-cut movies of ET/CT with unprecedented time resolution. The ultimate goal is to adapt the molecular response of engineered organic materials to optimize the processes initiated by light absorption, leading to the desired opto-electronic behaviour.

The usual strategy to improve solar cells efficiency is chemical modification, which is based on chemical intuition and trial-and-error approaches. In this regards, there is no control on the ultrafast electron dynamics induced by light. Achieving the latter is not easy, as the natural time scale for electronic motion is the attosecond (10-18 seconds), which is much shorter than the duration of the probing femtosecond laser pulses. With femtosecond pulses, one can visualise slower processes, such as isomerization, nuclear vibrations or hydrogen migration which certainly affect later ET/CT at longer time scales. However, real-time imaging of electronic motion is possibly the only way to fully understand and control the early stages of ET/CT, and by extension the coupled electron-nuclear dynamics that come later and lead (or not) to an efficient electric current.

In this project, scientists propose to overcome the femtosecond time-scale bottleneck and get direct information on the early stages of ET/CT generated by the absorption of visible and ultraviolet light on organic opto-electronic systems. By extending the tools of attosecond science beyond the state of the art and combining them with the most advanced methods of organic synthesis and computational modelling, TOMATTO researchers aim to revolutionize the field of organic optoelectronics, with an obvious impact in all related technologies.

A European project coordinated from Madrid

The TOMATTO project is been funded by the European Research Council (ERC) through a Synergy Grant that promote the cooperative investigations of research groups working in complementary fields. The aim is to support close collaboration leading to a fruitful cross-fertilization of disciplines capable of producing innovative results on problems of high scientific relevance.

More information:
TOMATTO project: https://tomatto.eu/
IMDEA news: https://www.nanociencia.imdea.org/es/imdea-nanociencia/noticias/item/tomatto-the-european-project-that-aims-to-capture-electrons-in-motion
UAM news: https://www.uam.es/uam/investigacion/cultura-cientifica/articulos/tomatto-electrones-movimiento

Source: IMDEA Nanociencia

Contact: IMDEA Nanociencia Dissemination and Communication Office
+34 91 299 87 12
Twitter: @imdea_nano @tomattosecond
Facebook & Instagram: @imdeananociencia

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