Thermally activated triplet-to-singlet upconversion is attractive from both fundamental science and exciton engineering, but controlling the process from molecular configuration is still unrevealed. In particular, the flexibility of the freedom of molecular geometry is of major importance to understand the kinetics of the phonon-induced upconversion. Here, we focus on two linearly connected donor-acceptor molecules, 9,9-dimethyl-9,10-dihydroacridine-2,4,6-triphenyl-1,3,5-triazine (DMAC-TRZ) and hexamethylazatriangulene-2,4,6-triphenyl-1,3,5-triazine (HMAT-TRZ), as the model system. While DMAC-TRZ possesses a rotational degree of freedom in the dihedral angle between the donor and acceptor moieties, i.e., C-N bond in tertiary amine, the rotation is structurally restricted in HMAT-TRZ. The rotationally flexible DMAC-TRZ showed significant triplet-to-singlet upconversion caused by thermal activation. On the other hand, the rotation-restricted HMAT-TRZ showed negligible thermal upconversion efficiency. We elaborate on the origin of the photophysical properties from the viewpoint of the geometries in the excited states using time-resolved infrared spectroscopy and quantum chemical calculations. We uncovered that the structural restriction of the intramolecular flexibility significantly affects the optimized geometry and phonon modes coupled to the spin conversion. As a result of the rotation restriction, the spin flipping in HMAT-TRZ was coupled to bending motion instead of the rotation. In contrast, the free rotation fluctuation in the DMAC-TRZ mixes local-excitation and charge-transfer characters, leading to successful activation of the delayed fluorescence as well as the reverse intersystem crossing. Our discovery sheds light on the mechanism of the triplet-to-singlet upconversion, providing a microscopic strategy to control the optoelectronic properties from a molecular viewpoint.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry