[Cu(P^P)(N^N)][PF6] compounds with bis(phosphane) and 6-alkoxy, 6-alkylthio, 6-phenyloxy and 6-phenylthio-substituted 2,2′-bipyridine ligands for light-emitting electrochemical cells†
We report a series of [Cu(P^P)(N^N)][PF6] complexes with P^P = bis(2-(diphenylphosphino)phenyl)ether (POP) or 4,5-bis(diphenylphosphino)-9,9-dimethylxanthene (xantphos) and N^N = 6-methoxy-2,2′-bipyridine (MeObpy), 6-ethoxy-2,2′-bipyridine (EtObpy), 6-phenyloxy-2,2′-bipyridine (PhObpy), 6-methylthio-2,2′-bipyridine (MeSbpy), 6-ethylthio-2,2′-bipyridine (EtSbpy) and 6-phenylthio-2,2′-bipyridine (PhSbpy). The single crystal structures of all twelve compounds have been determined and confirm chelating modes for each N^N and P^P ligand, and a distorted tetrahedral geometry for copper(I). For the xantphos-containing complexes, the asymmetrical bpy ligand is arranged with the 6-substituent lying over the xanthene ‘bowl’. The compounds have been characterized in solution by 1H, 13C and 31P NMR spectroscopies, and their photophysical and electrochemical properties are described. They are yellow emitters and solid samples show photoluminescence quantum yields in the range up to 38%, with emission lifetimes ≤10.2 μs. On going from powder to frozen Me-THF, the excited state lifetimes increase which might suggest the presence of thermally activated delayed fluorescence (TADF). All the compounds have been tested in light-emitting electrochemical cells (LECs). Bright and stable LECs are obtained with complexes containing alkoxy- or phenyloxy-substituted ligands, making this family of compounds very relevant for the future development of copper-based electroluminescent devices.