Transition metal complexes of Ru(II), Pt(II) and Ir(III) with strong absorption of visible light and long-lived T1 excited states were summarized. A design rationale of these complexes, i.e. direct metalation of organic chromophore, was proposed. Alternatively an organic chromophore can be dangled on the peripheral moiety of the coordination center. In both cases the long-lived intraligand triplet excited state (3IL) can be accessed. However, the 3IL excited state is usually emissive for the former case and it is very often non-emissive for the latter case. Two methods used for study of the long-lived triplet excited state, i.e. the time-resolved transient difference absorption spectroscopy and the spin density analysis, are briefly introduced. Preliminary applications of the complexes in luminescent O2 sensing and triplet–triplet annihilation (TTA) upconversions were discussed.
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