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Exploiting excited-state aromaticity to design highly stable singlet fission materials

DOI: 10.1021/jacs.9b06346 DOI Help

Authors: Kealan J. Fallon (University of Cambridge) , Peter Budden (University of Cambridge) , Enrico Salvadori (University of Turin; University College London) , Alex M. Ganose (University College London; Diamond Light Source) , Christopher N. Savory (University College London) , Lissa Eyre (University of Cambridge) , Simon Dowland (University of Cambridge) , Qianxiang Ai (University of Kentucky) , Stephen Goodlett (University of Kentucky) , Chad Risko (University of Kentucky) , David O. Scanlon (University College London; Diamond Light Source) , Christopher W. M. Kay (University College London; University of Saarland) , Akshay Rao (University of Cambridge) , Richard H. Friend (University of Cambridge) , Andrew J. Musser (University of Sheffield) , Hugo Bronstein (University of Cambridge)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Journal Of The American Chemical Society

State: Published (Approved)
Published: August 2019

Abstract: Singlet fission, the process of forming two triplet excitons from one photon, is a characteristic reserved for only a handful of organic molecules due to the atypical energetic requirement for low energy excited triplet states. The predominant strategy for achieving such trait is by increasing ground state diradical character, however this greatly reduces ambient stability. Herein, we exploit Baird’s rule of excited state aromaticity to manipulate the singlet-triplet energy gap and create novel singlet fission candidates. We achieve this through the inclusion of a [4n] 5-membered heterocycle, whose electronic resonance promotes aromaticity in the triplet state, stabilizing its energy relative to the singlet excited state. Using this theory, we design a family of derivatives of indolonaphthyridine thiophene (INDT) with highly tunable excited state energies. Not only do we access novel singlet fission materials, they also exhibit excellent ambient stability, imparted due to the delocalized nature of the triplet excited state. Spin-coated films retained up to 85% activity after several weeks of exposure to oxygen and light, whilst analo-gous films of TIPS-pentacene showed full degradation after four days, showcasing the excellent stability of this class of singlet fission scaffold. Extension of our theoretical analysis to almost ten thousand candidates reveals an unprecedented degree of tuneability and several thousand potential fission-capable candidates, whilst clearly demonstrating the relationship between triplet aromaticity and singlet-triplet energy gap, confirming this novel strategy for manipulating the exchange energy in organic materials.

Subject Areas: Chemistry, Materials

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