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Inorg Chem. 2011 Nov 21;50(22):11323-39. doi: 10.1021/ic2007759. Epub 2011 Oct 5.

d → f energy transfer in a series of Ir(III)/Eu(III) dyads: energy-transfer mechanisms and white-light emission.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S3 7HF, U.K.


An extensive series of blue-luminescent iridium(III) complexes has been prepared containing two phenylpyridine-type ligands and one ligand containing two pyrazolylpyridine units, of which one is bound to Ir(III) and the second is pendant. Attachment of {Ln(hfac)(3)} (Ln = Eu, Gd; hfac = anion of 1,1,1,5,5,5,-hexafluoropentanedione) to the second coordination site affords Ir(III)/Ln(III) dyads. Crystallographic analysis of several mononuclear iridium(III) complexes and one Ir(III)/Eu(III) dyad reveals that in most cases the complexes can adopt a folded conformation involving aromatic π stacking between a phenylpyridine ligand and the bis(pyrazolylpyridine) ligand, but in one series, based on CF(3)-substituted phenylpyridine ligands coordinated to Ir(III), the steric bulk of the CF(3) group prevents this and a quite different and more open conformation arises. Quantum mechanical calculations well reproduce these two types of "folded" and "open" conformations. In the Ir(III)/Eu(III) dyads, Ir → Eu energy transfer occurs with varying degrees of efficiency, resulting in partial quenching of the Ir(III)-based blue emission and the appearance of a sensitized red emission from Eu(III). Calculations based on consideration of spectroscopic overlap integrals rule out any significant contribution from Förster (dipole-dipole) energy transfer over the distances involved but indicate that Dexter-type (exchange) energy transfer is possible if there is a small electronic coupling that would arise, in part, through π stacking between components. In some cases, an initial photoinduced electron-transfer step could also contribute to Ir → Eu energy transfer, as shown by studies on isostructural iridium/gadolinium model complexes. A balance between the blue (Ir-based) and red (Eu-based) emission components can generate white light.


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