Research ArticleChemistry

Allochroic thermally activated delayed fluorescence diodes through field-induced solvatochromic effect

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Science Advances  15 Sep 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 9, e1700904
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1700904


Allochroic organic light-emitting devices (AOLEDs) characterized by field-dependent emissive color variation are promising as visible signal response units for intelligent applications. Most of the AOLEDs were realized by changing their recombination zones or inter- and intramolecular energy transfer, rendering the limited repeatability, stability, and electroluminescence (EL) performance. We report a novel thermally activated delayed fluorescence (TADF) diode that featured a successive and irreversible emission color change from bluish green to deep blue during voltage increase, which uses the significant influence of host polarity on the emission color of TADF dyes, namely, solvatochromic effect. Its host 3,6-di-tert-butyl-1,8-bis(diphenylphosphoryl)-9H-carbazole (tBCzHDPO) was designed with remarkable field-dependent polarity reduction from 7.9 to 3.3 D by virtue of hydrogen bond–induced conformational isomerization. This TADF device achieves the best EL performance among AOLEDs, to date, with, for example, an external quantum efficiency beyond 15%, as well as the unique irreversible allochroic characteristic for visible data storage and information security.

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