Triplet fusion upconversion using sterically protected 9,10-diphenylanthracene as the emitter†
Improving the efficiency of triplet fusion upconversion (TF-UC) in the solid-state is still challenging due to the aggregation and phase separation of chromophores. In this work, two 9,10-diphenylanthracene (DPA) derivatives based on the modification of the 9,10-phenyl rings with bulky isopropyl groups (bDPA-1 and bDPA-2) were used as emitters. By using platinum octaethylporphyrin (PtOEP) as the sensitizer, TF-UC performance was comprehensively investigated in 3 media: toluene solution, polyurethane thin film and nano/micro-crystals in a polyvinyl alcohol matrix. Only a small difference in upconversion efficiency between the bulky DPAs and the DPA reference was observed in toluene solution and polyurethane thin film. However, a large improvement of TF-UC quantum yield was achieved in bDPA-2/PtOEP crystals (ΦUC = (0.92 ± 0.05)%) with a low excitation intensity threshold (52 mW cm−2) compared to that of DPA/PtOEP crystals (ΦUC = (0.09 ± 0.03)%). This difference was largely attributed to improved dispersibility of the PtOEP sensitizer in the bDPA-2 emitter crystals. The bulky DPAs also show excellent stability under UV irradiation with exposure to oxygen compared to DPA. These results provide a strategy for developing efficient solid-state TF-UC systems based on nano/micro-particles of emitter–sensitizer mixtures.