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Y‐Shaped D‐A Type Thioxanthone Derivatives: Mechano‐Induced Thermally Activated Delayed Fluorescence and High‐Contrast Mechano‐Responsive Luminescence

High-contrast mechano-responsive luminescence (MRL) materials with mechano-induced emission enhancement properties are fascinating candidates but few, for applications in rewritable media and recording devices. Here, an interesting design strategy of “Y-shape” donor-acceptor (D-A) type molecules for high-contrast MRL materials was presented, based on substituted diphenylamine donor and planar acceptor. Interestingly, their D-A torsion angles are small in crystals but increased after ground, resulted in planar and twist intramolecular charge transfer (PICT and TICT) states, respectively. Therefore, high-contrast MRL switching between weak blue (450 nm) fluorescence and bright yellow (552 nm) thermally activated delayed fluorescence (TADF) can be achieved for compound TXDO (4,4'-dimethoxydiphenylamine donor), which photoluminescence quantum yield increased from 2.8% to 54.7% after ground. Most importantly, the two independent D-A conjugation dihedral angles are actually independent in the “Y-shape” molecules. Especially for compound TXDT (4,4'-di-tert-butyldiphenylamine donor), its crystal exhibited both PICT and TICT processes inside, resulted from the different dihedral angles of 11.8° and 35.5°, respectively. The TXDT crystal thus showed dual-peak emission, including both TICT fluorescence and PICT room-temperature phosphorescence. Therefore, this strategy of "Y-shape" D-A type molecules provide a new approach to design advanced luminescent materials with mechano-induced TADF feature, for high-contrast MRL and single-component white luminescence.

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