American Chemical Society
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Panchromatic Excited-State Absorption in Bis-Cyclometalated Iridium Isocyanide Complexes

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-11-16, 20:33 authored by Morris E. Olumba, Ryan M. O’Donnell, Thomas N. Rohrabaugh, Thomas S. Teets
In this work, we introduce a series of cyclometalated iridium complexes and evaluate the suitability of this class of compounds in nonlinear optical (NLO) applications, with an emphasis on long-lived, panchromatic reverse-saturable absorption (RSA). The investigated complexes are represented by the general formula [Ir(C^N)2(CNArdmp)2]+, (C^N = cyclometalating ligand, CNArdmp = 2,6-dimethylphenyl isocyanide). Seven such complexes were synthesized and characterized, including in-depth analysis of their photophysical properties (UV–vis absorption, photoluminescence, and transient absorption). This series of compounds contains seven different cyclometalating ligands (2-phenylbenzothiazole (bt) (Ir1), 5-nitro-2-phenylpyridine (ppyNO2) (Ir2), 5-nitro-2-(9-phenanthryl)pyridine (phenNO2) (Ir3), 2-(benzo[b]thiophen-2-yl)quinoline (btq) (Ir4), 6-(benzo[b]thiophen-2′-yl)phenanthridine (btph) (Ir5), 2,4-diphenylquinoline (dpq) (Ir6), and 6-nitro-2,4-diphenylquinoline (NO2dpq) (Ir7)), which have profound effects on their ground-state and excited-state absorption spectra. To evaluate the effects of the isocyanide ancillary ligands, some heteroleptic bis-cyclometalated iridium(III) acetylacetonate (acac) analogue complexes are included as points of comparison. In the ground state, the bis-isocyanide complexes display UV–vis absorption with the characteristic 1LC (π → π*) band at λ < 350 nm and 1MLCT bands at 350–500 nm. Five of the complexes (Ir1, Ir2, Ir4, Ir5, and Ir6) display broad, intense triplet excited-state absorption with no ground-state bleach (GSB) over the spectral window of 400–900 nm, with excited-state lifetimes spanning three orders of magnitude from ∼32 ns to 12 μs. The photophysical data suggests that the isocyanide ancillary ligand blue-shifts the GSB transient into the UV, which is normally found in the middle of the visible region for cyclometalated iridium complexes. This study demonstrates the applicability of cationic cyclometalated iridium(III) bis-isocyanide complexes as candidate RSA materials.