Triplet Energy Back Transfer in Conjugated Polymers with Pendant Phosphorescent Iridium Complexes


Nicholas R. Evans, Lekshmi Sudha Devi, Chris S. K. Mak, Scott E. Watkins,

Sofia I. Pascu, Anna Köhler, Richard H. Friend, Charlotte K. Williams and

Andrew B. Holmes

J. Am. Chem. Soc. 128 (2006) 6647-6656

Abstract: The nature of Dexter triplet energy transfer between bonded systems of a red phosphorescent iridium complex 13 and a conjugated polymer, polyfluorene, has been investigated in electrophosphorescent organic light-emitting diodes. Red-emitting phosphorescent iridium complexes based on the [Ir(btp)2(acac)] fragment (where btp is 2-(2¢-benzo[b]thienyl)pyridinato and acac is acetylacetonate) have been attached either directly (spacerless) or through a -(CH2)8- chain (octamethylene-tethered) at the 9-position of a 9-octylfluorene host. The resulting dibromo-functionalized spacerless (8) or octamethylene-tethered (12) fluorene monomers were chain extended by Suzuki polycondensations using the bis(boronate)-terminated fluorene macromonomers 16 in the presence of end-capping chlorobenzene solvent to produce the statistical spacerless (17) and octamethylene-tethered (18) copolymers containing an even dispersion of the pendant phosphorescent fragments. The spacerless monomer 12 adopts a face-to-face conformation with a separation of only 3.6 Å between the iridium complex and fluorenyl group, as shown by X-ray analysis of a single crystal, and this facilitates intramolecular triplet energy transfer in the spacerless copolymers 17. The photo- and electroluminescence efficiencies of the octamethylene-tethered copolymers 18 are double those of the spacerless copolymers 17, and this is consistent with suppression of the back transfer of triplets from the red phosphorescent iridium complex to the polyfluorene backbone in 18. The incorporation of a -(CH2)8- chain between the polymer host and phosphorescent guest is thus an important design principle for achieving higher efficiencies in those electrophosphorescent organic light-emitting diodes for which the triplet energy levels of the host and guest are similar.