Synthesis and Application of Photolithographically Patternable Deep Blue Emitting Poly(3,6-Dimethoxy-9,9-dialkylsilafluorene)s


Poly(silafluorene)s (PSFs) are promising light-emitting materials with brilliant solid-state blue luminescence, high quantum efficiency, excellent solubility, and improved thermal and chemical stability. PSFs are reported to have high electron affinity and conductivity originating from σ*- π* conjugation between the σ*-antibonding orbital of the exocyclic Si-C bond and the π* antibonding orbital of the butadiene fragment, a promising characteristic for improved charge carrier balance in OLEDs. In this paper, we present a protocol for photopatterning derivatives of poly(3,6-dimethoxy-9,9-dialkylsilafluorenes) with resolutions exceeding 10 $mikro$m. The procedure begins by converting polymers (Mn = 50-55 kg/mol, PDI = 1.8) with cyclohexenyl and norbornenyl containing side chains to their respective epoxides using the Prilezhaev reaction and m-chloroperoxybenzoic acid (m-CPBA). Using the I-line (365 nm) of a Karl Suss MA6 mask aligner, a 1 s UV light exposure of the photoacid generator (PAG) bis(4-tert-butylphenyl)iodonium hexafluoro-phosphate (DtBPI-PF6) generates sufficient protons to catalyze epoxide ring-opening and form a bridging network of covalent C-O bonds which renders the material insoluble in developing solvents such as toluene or THF. The resultant cross-linked material possess characteristic blue photoluminescence with solid state quantum yields textgreater80%. Polymer films have excellent transparency (with a measured Eg approx 3.0 eV). Energy levels determined using cyclic voltammetry were -5.7 and -2.7 eV for HOMO and LUMO, respectively. Additionally, several device applications are demonstrated which incorporate cross-linked films. These include examples of solid state lasing in the region of 420-450 nm from cross-linked films on second order corrugated silica substrates (Λ = 200 nm). OLEDs were also prepared with a cross-linked emitting layer as part of a trilayer device which we report to have a maximum external quantum efficiency of 3.2% at 33 mA/cm2 and a stable blue-violet emission with an electroluminescence maximum at 410 nm. Photopatternable PSF epoxides are also shown to be efficient hosts for Förster energy transfer and we provide examples of pattern layers incorporating small molecule emitters which emit in both the red and green while blue emission of the host is effectively suppressed.

ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Thomas Wolf
Thomas Wolf
Staff Scientist

My research is focused on discovering structure-function relationships in ultrafast photochemistry to better understand and eventually control this type of reactions.