A new series of luminescent 1,4-diazatriphenylene (ATP) derivatives with various peripheral donor units, including phenoxazine, 9,9-dimethylacridane and 3-(diphenylamino)carbazole, is synthesized and characterized as thermally activated delayed fluorescence (TADF) emitters. The influence of the donor substituents on the electronic and photophysical properties of the materials is investigated by theoretical calculations and experimental spectroscopic measurements. These ATP-based molecules with donor-acceptor-donor (D-A-D) structures can reduce the singlet-triplet energy gap (0.04-0.26 eV) upon chemical modification of the ATP core, and thus exhibit obvious TADF characteristics in solution and doped thin films. As a demonstration of the potential of these materials, organic light-emitting diodes containing the D-A-D-structured ATP derivatives as emitters are fabricated and tested. External electroluminescence quantum efficiencies above 12% and 8% for green- and sky-blue-emitting devices, respectively, are achieved.
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