Computational Investigations of the Detailed Mechanism of Reverse Intersystem Crossing in Inverted Singlet-Triplet Gap Molecules

Danillo Valverde, Cher Tian Ser, Gaetano Ricci, Kjell Jorner, Robert Pollice, Alán Aspuru-Guzik*, Yoann Olivier*

*Corresponding author voor dit werk

Onderzoeksoutputpeer review


Inverted singlet-triplet gap (INVEST) materials have promising photophysical properties for optoelectronic applications due to an inversion of their lowest singlet (S1) and triplet (T1) excited states. This results in an exothermic reverse intersystem crossing (rISC) process that potentially enhances triplet harvesting, compared to thermally activated delayed fluorescence (TADF) emitters with endothermic rISCs. However, the processes and phenomena that facilitate conversion between excited states for INVEST materials are underexplored. We investigate the complex potential energy surfaces (PESs) of the excited states of three heavily studied azaphenalene INVEST compounds, namely, cyclazine, pentazine, and heptazine using two state-of-the-art computational methodologies, namely, RMS-CASPT2 and SCS-ADC(2) methods. Our findings suggest that ISC and rISC processes take place directly between the S1 and T1 electronic states in all three compounds through a minimum-energy crossing point (MECP) with an activation energy barrier between 0.11 to 0.58 eV above the S1 state for ISC and between 0.06 and 0.36 eV above the T1 state for rISC. We predict that higher-lying triplet states are not populated, since the crossing point structures to these states are not energetically accessible. Furthermore, the conical intersection (CI) between the ground and S1 states is high in energy for all compounds (between 0.4 to 2.0 eV) which makes nonradiative decay back to the ground state a relatively slow process. We demonstrate that the spin-orbit coupling (SOC) driving the S1-T1 conversion is enhanced by vibronic coupling with higher-lying singlet and triplet states possessing vibrational modes of proper symmetry. We also rationalize that the experimentally observed anti-Kasha emission of cyclazine is due to the energetically inaccessible CI between the bright S2 and the dark S1 states, hindering internal conversion. Finally, we show that SCS-ADC(2) is able to qualitatively reproduce excited state features, but consistently overpredict relative energies of excited state structural minima compared to RMS-CASPT2. The identification of these excited state features elaborates design rules for new INVEST emitters with improved emission quantum yields.

Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's11
TijdschriftACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 10-mei-2024
Extern gepubliceerdJa


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