A Yellow-Emitting Homoleptic Iridium(III) Complex Constructed from a Multifunctional Spiro Ligand for Highly Efficient Phosphorescent Organic Light-Emitting Diodes

Bao-Yi Ren, Run-Da Guo, Dao-Kun Zhong, Chang-Jin Ou, Gang Xiong, Xiang-Hua Zhao, Ya-Guang Sun, Matthew Jurow, Jun Kang, Yi Zhao, Sheng-Biao Li, Li-Xin You, Lin-Wang Wang, Yi Liu, Wei Huang
Inorganic Chemistry 2017 July 17, 56 (14): 8397-8407
To suppress concentration quenching and to improve charge-carrier injection/transport in the emission layer (EML) of phosphorescent organic light-emitting diodes (PhOLEDs), a facial homoleptic iridium(III) complex emitter with amorphous characteristics was designed and prepared in one step from a multifunctional spiro ligand containing spiro[fluorene-9,9'-xanthene] (SFX) unit. Single-crystal X-ray analysis of the resulting fac-Ir(SFXpy)3 complex revealed an enlarged Ir···Ir distance and negligible intermolecular π-π interactions between the spiro ligands. The emitter exhibits yellow emission and almost equal energy levels compared to the commercial phosphor iridium(III) bis(4-phenylthieno[3,2-c]pyridinato-N,C2 ')acetylacetonate (PO-01). Dry-processed devices using a common host, 4,4'-bis(N-carbazolyl)-1,1'-biphenyl, and the fac-Ir(SFXpy)3 emitter at a doping concentration of 15 wt % exhibited a peak performance of 46.2 cd A-1 , 36.3 lm W-1 , and 12.1% for the current efficiency (CE), power efficiency (PE), and external quantum efficiency (EQE), respectively. Compared to control devices using PO-01 as the dopant, the fac-Ir(SFXpy)3 -based devices remained superior in the doping range between 8 and 15 wt %. The current densities went up with increasing doping concentration at the same driving voltage, while the roll-offs remain relatively low even at high doping levels. The superior performance of the new emitter-based devices was ascribed to key roles of the spiro ligand for suppressing aggregation and assisting charge-carrier injection/transport. Benefiting from the amorphous stability of the emitter, the wet-processed device also exhibited respectful CE, PE, and EQE of 32.2 cd A-1 , 22.1 lm W-1 , and 11.3%, respectively, while the EQE roll-off was as low as 1.7% at the luminance of 1000 cd m-2 . The three-dimensional geometry and binary-conjugation features render SFX the ideal multifunctional module for suppressing concentration quenching, facilitating charge-carrier injection/transport, and improving the amorphous stability of iridium(III)-based phosphorescent emitters.

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