Peripheral halo-functionalization in [Cu(N^N)(P^P)]+ emitters: influence on the performances of light-emitting electrochemical cells
A series of heteroleptic [Cu(N^N)(P^P)][PF6] complexes is described in which P^P = bis(2-(diphenylphosphino)phenyl)ether (POP) or 4,5-bis(diphenylphosphino)-9,9-dimethylxanthene (xantphos) and N^N = 4,4′-diphenyl-6,6′-dimethyl-2,2′-bipyridine substituted in the 4-position of the phenyl groups with atom X (N^N = 1 has X = F, 2 has X = Cl, 3 has X = Br, 4 has X = I; the benchmark N^N ligand with X = H is 5). These complexes have been characterized by multinuclear NMR spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, elemental analyses and cyclic voltammetry; representative single crystal structures are also reported. The solution absorption spectra are characterized by high energy bands (arising from ligand-centred transitions) which are red-shifted on going from X = H to X = I, and a broad metal-to-ligand charge transfer band with λmax in the range 387–395 nm. The ten complexes are yellow emitters in solution and yellow or yellow-orange emitters in the solid-state. For a given N^N ligand, the solution photoluminescence (PL) spectra show no significant change on going from [Cu(N^N)(POP)]+ to [Cu(N^N)(xantphos)]+; introducing the iodo-functionality into the N^N domain leads to a red-shift in λmaxem compared to the complexes with the benchmark N^N ligand 5. In the solid state, [Cu(1)(POP)][PF6] and [Cu(1)(xantphos)][PF6] (fluoro-substituent) exhibit the highest PL quantum yields (74 and 25%, respectively) with values of τ1/2 = 11.1 and 5.8 μs, respectively. Light-emitting electrochemical cells (LECs) with [Cu(N^N)(P^P)][PF6] complexes in the emissive layer have been tested. Using a block-wave pulsed current driving mode, the best performing device employed [Cu(1)(xantphos)]+ and this showed a maximum luminance (Lummax) of 129 cd m−2 and a device lifetime (t1/2) of 54 h; however, the turn-on time (time to reach Lummax) was 4.1 h. Trends in performance data reveal that the introduction of fluoro-groups is beneficial, but that the incorporation of heavier halo-substituents leads to poor devices, probably due to a detrimental effect on charge transport; LECs with the iodo-functionalized N^N ligand 4 failed to show any electroluminescence after 50 h.