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Circularly Polarized Thermally Activated Delayed Fluorescence Emitters in Through-Space Charge Transfer on Asymmetric Spiro Skeletons

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posted on 06.10.2020, 16:06 by Sheng-Yi Yang, Ya-Kun Wang, Chen-Chen Peng, Zheng-Guang Wu, Shuai Yuan, You-Jun Yu, Hao Li, Tong-Tong Wang, Hong-Cheng Li, You-Xuan Zheng, Zuo-Quan Jiang, Liang-Sheng Liao
This work describes a strategy to produce circularly polarized thermally activated delayed fluorescence (CP-TADF). A set of two structurally similar organic emitters SFST and SFOT are constructed, whose spiro architectures containing asymmetric donors result in chirality. Upon grafting within the spiro frameworks, the donor and acceptor are fixed proximally in a face-to-face manner. This orientation allows intramolecular through-space charge transfer (TSCT) to occur in both emitters, leading to TADF properties. The donor units in SFST and SFOT have a sulfur and oxygen atom, respectively; such a subtle difference has great impacts on their photophysical, chiroptical, and electroluminescence (EL) properties. SFOT exhibits greatly enhanced EL performance in doped organic light-emitting diodes, with external quantum efficiency (EQE) up to 23.1%, owing to the concurrent manipulation of highly photoluminescent quantum efficiency (PLQY, ∼90%) and high exciton utilization. As a comparison, the relatively larger sulfur atom in SFST introduces heavy atom effects and leads to distortion of the molecular backbone that lengthens the donor–acceptor distance. SFST thus has lower PLQY and faster nonradiative decay rate. The collective consequence is that the EQE value of SFST, i.e., 12.5%, is much lower than that of SFOT. The chirality of these two spiro emitters results in circularly polarized luminescence. Because SFST has a more distorted molecular architecture than SFOT, the luminescence dissymmetry factor (|glum|) of circularly polarized luminescence of one enantiomer of the former, namely, either (S)-SFST or (R)-SFST, is almost twice that of (S)-SFOT/(R)-SFOT. Moreover, the CP organic light-emitting diodes (CP-OLEDs) show obvious circularly polarized electroluminescence (CPEL) signals with gEL of 1.30 × 10–3 and 1.0 × 10–3 for (S)-SFST and (S)-SFOT, respectively.