"Pressure-induced excimer formation and fluorescence enhancement of an anthracene derivative"

Yuxiang Dai: Haichao Liu, Ting Geng, Feng Ke, Shanyuan Niu, Kai Wang, Yang Qi, Bo Zou, Bing Yang, Wendy L. Mao and Yu Lin; Journal of Materials Chemistry C, 12/08/20.

Additional Authors: Haichao Liu, Ting Geng, Feng Ke, Shanyuan Niu, Kai Wang, Yang Qi, Bo Zou, Bing Yang, Wendy L. Mao and Yu Lin


Excimer materials have been widely studied and have generated significant interest for their applications in many optoelectronic devices. However, a thorough investigation of the entire process involved in excimer formation, enhancement, and annihilation in solid materials is still lacking. Here we designed a crystal based on an anthracene derivative with dissociative, molecular-ordered dimer assembly, and studied the formation and evolution of an anthracene excimer as a function of pressure. During the initial stage of pressurization, the fluorescence intensity arising from anthracene monomers gradually decreases. With continued compression, the two anthracene units become increasingly closer allowing strong intermolecular π–π interactions to develop that lead to excimer formation at 3.5 GPa, accompanied with a phase transition. The fluorescence intensity then keeps increasing with pressure and reaches its maximum at 5.6 GPa due to the strengthening of the excimer and the increased structural defects. Meanwhile the fluorescence color shows a continuous redshift, which initially results from conformation planarization and then excimer evolution. After releasing pressure back to ambient conditions, the structural changes in the sample are reversible, while the fluorescence signal preserves some high-pressure features due to the partial retention of the π–π interactions between the anthracene dimers. This study reveals the evolution of an excimer and its intrinsic photophysical properties, and provides guidance for future research on pressure-sensitive fluorescent devices.