Nonconventional luminophores with unprecedented efficiencies and color-tunable afterglows†
Nonconventional luminophores without significant conjugations generally possess excitation-dependent photoluminescence (PL) owing to the coexistence of diverse clustered chromophores, which strongly implies the possibility of achieving color-tunable PL and/or persistent room temperature phosphorescence (p-RTP) from their crystals assisted by effective intermolecular interactions. Compared with traditional luminogens, however, nonconventional luminophores generally suffer from poor PL efficiencies. Here, inspired by the highly stable double-helix structure and multiple hydrogen bonds in DNA, we report a series of planar or twisted nonconventional luminophores based on hydantoin (HA), demonstrating unprecedentedly high PL/p-RTP efficiencies and p-RTP lifetimes of up to 87.5%/21.8% and 1.74 s, respectively, accompanying color-tunable p-RTP from sky-blue to yellowish-green. These findings will advance the exploitation of efficient nonconventional luminophores and provide deeper mechanistic insights into the origin of color-tunable p-RTP.