Observation of an Inversion in Photophysical Tuning in a Systematic Study of Luminescent Triazole-Based Osmium(II) Complexes

Paul Scattergood, James Roberts, Salem Omar, Paul Elliott

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6 Citations (Scopus)


In a systematic survey of luminescent bis(terdentate) osmium(II) complexes, a tipping point involving a reversal in photophysical tuning is observed whereby increasing stabilization of the ligand-based lowest unoccupied molecular orbital (LUMO) results in a blue shift in the optical absorption and emission bands. The complexes [Os(N^N'^N″)2]2+ [N^N'^N″ = 2,6-bis(1-phenyl-1,2,3-triazol-4-yl)pyridine (Os1), 2,6-bis(1-benzyl-1,2,3-triazol-4-yl)pyrazine (Os2), 6-(1-benzyl-1,2,3-triazol-4-yl)-2,2'-bipyridyl (Os3), 2-(pyrid-2-yl)-6-(1-benzyl-1,2,3-triazol-4-yl)pyrazine (Os4), 2-(pyrazin-2-yl)-6-(1-benzyl-1,2,3-triazol-4-yl)pyridine (Os5), and 6-(1-benzyl-1,2,3-triazol-4-yl)-2,2'-bipyrazinyl (Os6)] have been prepared and characterized, and all complexes display phosphorescence ranging from the orange to near-IR regions of the spectrum. Replacement of the central pyridine in the ligands of Os1 by the more π-accepting pyrazine in Os2 results in a 55 nm red shift in the triplet metal-to-ligand charge-transfer-based emission band, while a larger red shift of 107 nm is observed for the replacement of one of the triazole donors in the ligands of Os1 by a second pyridine ring in Os3 (λemmax = 702 nm). Interestingly, replacement of the central pyridine ring in the ligands of Os3 by pyrazine (Os4, λemmax = 702 nm) fails to result in a further red shift in the emission band. Reversal of the relative positions of the pyridine and pyrazine donors in Os5 (λemmax = 733 nm) compared to Os4 does indeed result in the expected red shift in the emission with respect to that for Os3 based on the increased π-acceptor character of the ligands present. However, an inversion in emission tuning is observed for Os6, in which the incorporation of a second pyrazine donor in the ligand architecture results in a blue shift in the optical absorption and emission maxima (λemmax = 710 nm). Electrochemical studies reveal that while incorporating pyrazine in the ligands indeed results in an expected anodic shift in the first reduction potential through stabilization of the ligand-based LUMO, there is also a concomitant anodic shift in the OsII/OsIII-based oxidation potential. This stabilization of the metal-based highest occupied molecular orbital (HOMO) thus nullifies the effect of stabilization of the LUMO in Os4 compared to Os3, resulting in these complexes having coincident emission maxima. For Os6, stabilization of the HOMO through the incorporation of two pyrazine donors in the ligand structure now exceeds stabilization of the LUMO, resulting in a larger HOMO-LUMO gap and a counterintuitive blue shift in the optical properties in comparison with those of Os5. While it is known that the replacement of ligands (e.g., replacing bipyridyl with bipyrazinyl) can result in a larger HOMO-LUMO energy gap through greater stabilization of the HOMO, these results importantly allow us to capture the tipping point at which this inversion in photophysical tuning occurs. This therefore enables us to explore the limits available in emission tuning with a relatively simple and minimalist ligand structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8607-8621
Number of pages15
JournalInorganic Chemistry
Issue number13
Early online date10 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019


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