Photostimulated electron detrapping and the two-state model for electron transport in nonpolar liquids
In common nonpolar liquids, such as saturated hydrocarbons, there is a dynamic equilibrium between trapped (localized) and quasifree (extended) states of the excess electron (the two-state model). Using time-resolved dc conductivity, the effect of 1064 nm laser photoexcitation of trapped electrons on the charge transport has been observed in liquid n-hexane and methylcyclohexane. The light promotes the electron from the trap into the conduction band of the liquid. From the analysis of the two-pulse, two-color photoconductivity data, the residence time of the electrons in traps has been estimated as ca. 8.3 ps for n-hexane and ca. 13 ps for methylcyclohexane (at 295 K). The rate of detrapping decreases at lower temperature with an activation energy of ca. 200 meV (280-320 K); the lifetime-mobility product for quasifree electrons scales linearly with the temperature. We suggest that the properties of trapped electrons in hydrocarbon liquids can be well accounted for using the simple spherical cavity model. The estimated localization time of the quasifree electron is 20-50 fs; both time estimates are in agreement with the "quasiballistic" model. This localization time is significantly lower than the value of 310±100fs obtained using time-domain terahertz (THz) spectroscopy for the same system [E. Knoesel, M. Bonn, J. Shan, F. Wang, and T. F. Heinz, J. Chem. Phys. 121, 394 (2004)]. We suggest that the THz signal originates from the oscillations of electron bubbles rather than the free-electron plasma; vibrations of these bubbles may be responsible for the deviations from the Drude behavior observed below 0.4 THz. Various implications of these results are discussed.