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J Am Chem Soc. 2012 Aug 22;134(33):13818-22. doi: 10.1021/ja305310r. Epub 2012 Aug 10.

Design rules for charge-transport efficient host materials for phosphorescent organic light-emitting diodes.

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Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research, Ackermannweg 10, 55128 Mainz, Germany.


The use of blue phosphorescent emitters in organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) imposes demanding requirements on a host material. Among these are large triplet energies, the alignment of levels with respect to the emitter, the ability to form and sustain amorphous order, material processability, and an adequate charge carrier mobility. A possible design strategy is to choose a π-conjugated core with a high triplet level and to fulfill the other requirements by using suitable substituents. Bulky substituents, however, induce large spatial separations between conjugated cores, can substantially reduce intermolecular electronic couplings, and decrease the charge mobility of the host. In this work we analyze charge transport in amorphous 2,8-bis(triphenylsilyl)dibenzofuran, an electron-transporting material synthesized to serve as a host in deep-blue OLEDs. We show that mesomeric effects delocalize the frontier orbitals over the substituents recovering strong electronic couplings and lowering reorganization energies, especially for electrons, while keeping energetic disorder small. Admittance spectroscopy measurements reveal that the material has indeed a high electron mobility and a small Poole-Frenkel slope, supporting our conclusions. By linking electronic structure, molecular packing, and mobility, we provide a pathway to the rational design of hosts with high charge mobilities.


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