Cationic bis-cyclometalated iridium(III) diimine complexes and their use in efficient blue, green, and red electroluminescent devices

Arnold B Tamayo, Simona Garon, Tissa Sajoto, Peter I Djurovich, Irina M Tsyba, Robert Bau, Mark E Thompson
Inorganic Chemistry 2005 November 28, 44 (24): 8723-32
A series of cationic Ir(III) complexes with the general formula (C/N)2Ir(N/N)(+)PF6- featuring bis-cyclometalated 1-phenylpyrazolyl-N,C2' (C/N) and neutral diimine (N/N, e.g., 2,2'-bipyridyl) ligands were synthesized and their electrochemical, photophysical, and electroluminescent properties studied. Density functional theory calculations indicate that the highest occupied molecular orbital of the compounds is comprised of a mixture of Ir d and phenylpyrazolyl-based orbitals, while the lowest unoccupied molecular orbital has predominantly diimine character. The oxidation and reduction potentials of the complexes can be independently varied by systematic modification of either the C/N or N/N ligands with donor or acceptor substituents. The electrochemical redox gaps (E(ox)-E(red)) were adjusted to span a range between 2.39 and 3.08 V. All of the compounds have intense absorption bands in the UV region assigned to 1(pi-pi*) transitions and weaker charge-transfer (CT) transitions that extend to the visible region. The complexes display intense luminescence both in fluid solution and as neat solids at 298 K that is assigned to emission from a triplet metal-ligand-to-ligand CT (3MLLCT) excited state. The energy of the 3MLLCT state varies in nearly direct proportion to the size of the electrochemical redox gap, which leads to emission colors that vary from red to blue. Three of the (C/N)2Ir(N/N)(+)PF6- complexes were used as active materials in single-layer light-emitting electrochemical cells (LECs). Single-layer electroluminescent devices were fabricated by spin-coating the Ir complexes onto an ITO-PEDOT/PSS substrate followed by deposition of aluminum contacts onto the organic film. Devices were prepared that give blue, green, and red electroluminescence spectra (lambda(max) = 492, 542, and 635 nm, respectively), which are nearly identical with the photoluminescence spectra of thin films of the same materials. The single-layer LECs give peak external quantum efficiencies of 4.7, 6.9, and 7.4% for the blue, green, and red emissive devices, respectively.

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