Spontaneous exciton dissociation enables spin state interconversion in delayed fluorescence organic semiconductors.
Engineering a low singlet-triplet energy gap (ΔEST) is necessary for efficient reverse intersystem crossing (rISC) in delayed fluorescence (DF) organic semiconductors but results in a small radiative rate that limits performance in LEDs. Here, we study a model DF material, BF2, that exhibits a strong optical absorption (absorption coefficient = 3.8 × 105 cm-1) and a relatively large ΔEST of 0.2 eV. In isolated BF2 molecules, intramolecular rISC is slow (delayed lifetime = 260 μs), but in aggregated films, BF2 generates intermolecular charge transfer (inter-CT) states on picosecond timescales. In contrast to the microsecond intramolecular rISC that is promoted by spin-orbit interactions in most isolated DF molecules, photoluminescence-detected magnetic resonance shows that these inter-CT states undergo rISC mediated by hyperfine interactions on a ~24 ns timescale and have an average electron-hole separation of ≥1.5 nm. Transfer back to the emissive singlet exciton then enables efficient DF and LED operation. Thus, access to these inter-CT states, which is possible even at low BF2 doping concentrations of 4 wt%, resolves the conflicting requirements of fast radiative emission and low ΔEST in organic DF emitters.
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/M005143/1)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/M01083X/1)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/L01551X/1)