Luminescent lanthanide-containing materials : from small molecules to conducting metallopolymers
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Luminescent lanthanide complexes have been widely studied for various biotechnology and materials science uses, however, the application of these luminescent systems in metallopolymers has been relatively limited, especially when compared to those incorporating transition metal complexes. The unique and interesting photophysical properties of lanthanide complexes (i.e., high color purity and long radiative lifetimes) make these systems ideal for the development of luminescent metallopolymers, which are a unique class of hybrid materials that synthetically incorporate metal centers into organic polymers, thereby taking advantage of the beneficial properties of both traditional inorganic (i.e., catalysis, optics, electronics) and organic (i.e., easy to process, flexible, low weight) materials. A new class of lanthanide complexes exhibiting metal-based visible and near-IR photoluminescence has been designed, synthesized and fully characterized by melting point, ESI-MS, elemental analysis and single crystal and powder X-ray diffraction (when possible). The photophysical properties of these luminescent monomer complexes were studied in solution and the solid state, with the emission spectra displaying the characteristic line-like emission peaks of the trivalent lanthanide ions. This indicates efficient energy transfer from ligand centered excited states to the emissive excited states of the lanthanides. The monomer complexes have been electropolymerized, resulting in conducting metallopolymers that display metal-based photoluminescence. Because these hybrid materials retain the desirable properties of both inorganic semiconductors and organic polymers, such as near metallic electrical conductivity, ease of processing, flexibility and light weight, they are promising for applications in solid-state lighting.