Mixed annihilation electrogenerated chemiluminescence of iridium(III) complexes
Previously reported annihilation ECL of mixtures of metal complexes have generally comprised Ir(ppy)3 or a close analogue as a higher energy donor/emitter (green/blue light) and [Ru(bpy)3]2+ or its derivative as a lower energy acceptor/emitter (red light). In contrast, here we examine Ir(ppy)3 as the lower energy acceptor/emitter, by combining it with a second Ir(III) complex: [Ir(df-ppy)2(ptb)]+ (where ptb = 1-benzyl-1,2,3-triazol-4-ylpyridine). The application of potentials sufficient to attain the first single-electron oxidation and reduction products can be exploited to detect Ir(ppy)3 at orders of magnitude lower concentration, or enhance its maximum emission intensity at high concentration far beyond that achievable through conventional annihilation ECL of Ir(ppy)3 involving comproportionation. Moreover, under certain conditions, the colour of the emission can be selected through the applied electrochemical potentials. We have also prepared a novel Ir(III) complex with a sufficiently low reduction potential that the reaction between its reduced form and Ir(ppy)3+ cannot populate the excited state of either luminophore. This enabled, for the first time, the exclusive formation of either excited state through the application of higher cathodic or anodic potentials, but in both cases, the ECL was greatly diminished by parasitic dark reactions.