Crafting NPB with tetraphenylethene: a win–win strategy to create stable and efficient solid-state emitters with aggregation-induced emission feature, high hole-transporting property and efficient electroluminescence†
N,N′-Di-(1-naphthyl)-N,N′-diphenyl-(1,1′-biphenyl)-4,4′-diamine (NPB) possesses high thermal and morphological stability and is one of the well-known hole-transporting materials for the fabrication of organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). Modification of NPB by the covalent integration of tetraphenylethene (TPE) into its structure dramatically changes its emission behavior: the resulting adduct (TPE–NPB) is highly emissive in the aggregated state, showing a novel phenomenon of aggregation-induced emission (AIE). The adduct is thermally and morphologically stable. Non-doped multilayer electroluminescence (EL) devices using TPE–NPB as an emitting layer were fabricated, which emitted green light with a maximum luminance and current efficiency of 11 981 cd m−2 and 11.9 cd A−1, respectively. Even better device performances are observed in the bilayer device without NPB. Our strategy takes the full advantage of the AIE property in the solid state and retains the inherent properties of conventional luminophores. It opens a new avenue in the development of stable and efficient solid-state fluorescent materials for OLED application.