A method using polyelectrolyte self-assembly for preparing multi-layered organic molecular materials having individual layers which exhibit ultrafast electron and/or energy transfer in a controlled direction occurring over the entire structure. Using a high molecular weight, water-soluble, anionic form of poly-phenylene vinylene, self-assembled films can be formed which show high photoluminescence quantum efficiency (QE). The highest emission QE is achieved using poly(propylene-imine) (PPI) dendrimers as cationic binders. Self-quenching of the luminescence is observed as the solid polymer film thickness is increased and can be reversed by inserting additional spacer layers of transparent polyelectrolytes between each active conjugated layer, such that the QE grows with thickness. A red shift of the luminescence is also observed as additional PPV layers are added. This effect persists as self-quenching is eliminated. Charge transfer superlattices can be formed by additionally incorporating C.sub.60 acceptor layers.
This invention was made with government support under Contract No. W-7405-ENG-36 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to The Regents of The University of California. The government has certain rights in the invention.