Thermally activated delayed fluorescence (TADF) molecules are gathering attention for their potential to boost the efficiency of organic light-emitting diodes without precious metals. Minimizing the energy difference between the S1 and T1 states (ΔEST) is a fundamental strategy to accelerate reverse intersystem crossing (RISC). However, the lack of microscopic understanding of the process prevents adequate design strategies for efficient TADF materials. Here, we focused on four carbazole-benzonitrile (Cz-BN) derivatives that possess identical ΔEST but distinct TADF activities. We systematically compared their geometrical dynamics upon photoexcitation using time-resolved infrared (TR-IR) vibrational spectroscopy in conjunction with quantum chemical calculations. We found that the most TADF-active molecule, 4CzBN, shows little structural change after photoexcitation, while the TADF-inactive molecules show relatively large deformation upon S1-T1 conversion. This implies that the suppression of structural deformation is critical for minimizing the activation energy barrier for RISC in cases of the Cz-BN derivatives.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry