Matrix Dynamics and Their Crucial Role in Non-radiative Decay during Thermally Activated Delayed Fluorescence

Gary Chen, John R. Swartzfager, John B. Asbury

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3 Scopus citations


We investigated the interplay of matrix dynamics with the molecular dynamics of a thermally activated delayed fluorescence (TADF) emitter, NAI-DMAC, to identify factors that influence the photophysical processes leading to TADF. The matrix dynamics surrounding NAI-DMAC molecules were varied continuously from the liquid to the solid state by depositing toluene solutions containing poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) and NAI-DMAC onto optical substrates. We monitored changes of the NAI-DMAC emission as the liquid films dried to form solid PMMA films using temperature- and time-resolved photoluminescence spectroscopy. We observed that, in low-viscosity solutions, the proportion of delayed fluorescence from NAI-DMAC was much smaller than that of prompt fluorescence, indicating that negligible TADF occurred in the low-viscosity environment. However, as the viscosity of the environment diverged at the final stages of dry-down to form solid PMMA films, the delayed fluorescence component of NAI-DMAC emission was extended to longer time scales and increased in amplitude relative to prompt emission as the temperature increased─signatures that TADF occurred in the solid state as expected. Our findings reveal the influence that matrix dynamics have on the competition between conformational motion needed to access emissive states and undergo TADF versus larger amplitude structural fluctuations that lead to non-radiative decay. Insights from these studies will inform ongoing work to understand and predict how host matrices used in organic light-emitting devices can be designed to maximize the radiative properties of TADF emitters by allowing molecular motion needed to undergo TADF while restricting larger amplitude motion leading to non-radiative decay.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25495-25504
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number46
StatePublished - Nov 22 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry

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