Luminescent ion pairs with tunable emission colors for light-emitting devices and electrochromic switches
Most recently, stimuli-responsive luminescent materials have attracted increasing interest because they can exhibit tunable emissive properties which are sensitive to external physical stimuli, such as light, temperature, force, and electric field. Among these stimuli, electric field is an important external stimulus. However, examples of electrochromic luminescent materials that exhibit emission color change induced by an electric field are limited. Herein, we have proposed a new strategy to develop electrochromic luminescent materials based on luminescent ion pairs. Six tunable emissive ion pairs (IP1–IP6) based on iridium(III) complexes have been designed and synthesized. The emission spectra of ion pairs (IPs) show concentration dependence and the energy transfer process is very efficient between positive and negative ions. Interestingly, IP6 displayed white emission at a certain concentration in solution or solid state. Thus, in this contribution, UV-chip (365 nm) excited light-emitting diodes showing orange, light yellow and white emission colors were successfully fabricated. Furthermore, IPs displayed tunable and reversible electrochromic luminescence. For example, upon applying a voltage of 3 V onto the electrodes, the emission color of the solution of IP1 near the anode or cathode changed from yellow to red or green, respectively. Color tunable electrochromic luminescence has also been realized by using other IPs. Finally, a solid-film electrochromic switch device with a sandwiched structure using IP1 has been fabricated successfully, which exhibited fast and reversible emission color change.