Highly efficient sky blue electroluminescence from ligand-activated copper iodide clusters: Overcoming the limitations of cluster light-emitting diodes

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Science Advances  21 Jun 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 6, eaav9857
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aav9857


Organic light-emitting diodes using cluster emitters have recently emerged as a flexible optoelectronic platform to extend their biological and optical applications. However, their inefficient cluster-centered excited states and deficient electrical properties limit device performance. Here, we introduce donor groups in organic ligands to form ligand-activated clusters, enabling the fabrication of the first cluster-based sky blue–emitting device with a record 30- and 8-fold increased luminance and external quantum efficiency up to ~7000 nits and ~8%, respectively. We show that the electron-donating effect of donor groups can enhance ligand-centered transitions and thoroughly eliminate cluster-centered excited states by delocalizing the molecular transition orbitals from the cluster unit to the ligand, leading to 13-fold increased photoluminescence quantum yield. In turn, the excellent rigidity and photostability of the cluster unit improve the color purity and efficiency stability of the devices. These results will motivate the further development of high-performance optoelectronic clusters by ligand engineering.

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