Understanding and Tailoring Excited State Properties in Solution-Processable Oligo(p-phenyleneethynylene)s: Highly Fluorescent Hybridized Local and Charge Transfer Character via Experiment and Theory


JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY B, vol.125, no.42, pp.11717-11731, 2021 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 125 Issue: 42
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.1c07165
  • Page Numbers: pp.11717-11731


Rod-shaped oligo(p-phenyleneethynylene) (OPE) offers an attractive p-framework for the development of solution-processable highly fluorescent molecules having tunable hybridized local and charge transfer (HLCT) excited states and (reverse) intersystem crossing ((R)ISC) channels. Herein, an HLCT oligo(p-phenyleneethynylene) library was studied for the first time in the literature in detail systematically via experiment and theory. The design, synthesis, and full characterization of a new highly fluorescent (Phi(PL-solution) similar to 1) sky blue emissive 4',4 ''-((2,5-bis((2-ethylhexyl)oxy)-1,4-phenylene)bis(ethyne-2,1-diyl))bis(N,N-diphenyl-[1,1'-bi-phenyl]-4-amine) (2EHO-TPA-PE) was also reported. The new molecule consists of a D'-Ar-pi-D-pi-Ar-D' molecular architecture with an extended pi-spacer and no acceptor unit, and detailed structural, physicochemical, single-crystal, and optoelectronic characterizations were performed. A high solid-state quantum efficiency (Phi(PL-solution) similar to 0.8) was achieved as a result of suppressed exciton-phonon/vibronic couplings (no pi-pi interactions and multiple (14 per dimeric form) strong C-H center dot center dot center dot pi interactions). Strong solution-phase/solid-state dipole-dependent tunable excited state behavior (local excited (LE) -> HLCT -> charge transfer (CT)) and decay dynamics covering a wide spectral region were demonstrated, and the CT state was observed to be highly fluorescent despite extremely large Stokes shift (similar to 130 nm)/fwhm (similar to 125 nm) and significant charge separation (0.75 charge.nm). Employing the Lippert-Mataga model, along with detailed photophysical studies and TDDFT calculations, key relationships between molecular design-electronic structure-exciton characteristics were elucidated with regards to HLCT and hot exciton channel formations. The interstate coupling between CT and LE states and the interplay of this coupling with respect to medium polarity were explored. A key relationship between excited-state symmetry breaking process and the formation of HLCT state was discussed for TPA-ended rod-shaped OPE p-systems. (R)ISC-related delayed fluorescence (tau similar to 2-6 ns) processes were evident following the prompt decays (similar to 0.4-0.9 ns) both in the solution and in the solid-state. As a unique observation, the delayed fluorescence could be tuned and facilitated via small dielectric changes in the medium. Our results and the molecular engineering perspectives presented in this study may provide unique insights into the structural and electronic factors governing tunable excited state and hot-exciton channel formations in OPEs for (un)conventional solution-processed luminescence applications.