Metal-free purely organic phosphorescent molecules are attractive alternatives to organometallic and inorganic counterparts because of their low cost and readily tunable optical properties through a wide chemical design window. However, their weak phosphorescent intensity due to inefficient spin-orbit coupling and, consequently, prevailing non-radiative decay processes limit their practical applicability. Here, we systematically studied phosphorescence emission enhancement of a purely organic phosphor system via plasmon resonance energy transfer. By precisely tuning the distance between purely organic phosphor crystals and plasmonic nanostructures using layer-by-layer assembled polyelectrolyte multilayers as a dielectric spacer, maximum 2.8 and 2.5 times enhancement in photoluminescence intensity was observed when the phosphor crystals were coupled with ∼55 nm AuNPs and ∼7 nm AgNPs, respectively, at the distance of 9.6 nm. When the distance is within the range of 3 nm, a dramatic decrease in phosphorescence intensity was observed, while at a larger distance, the plasmonic effect diminished rapidly. The distance-dependent plasmon-induced phosphorescence enhancement mechanism was further investigated by time-resolved photoluminescence measurements. Our results reveal the correlation between the amplification efficiency and plasmonic band, spatial factor, and spectral characteristics of the purely organic phosphor, which may provide an insightful picture to extend the utility of organic phosphors by using surface plasmon-induced emission enhancement scheme.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was partially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51375404), the Sichuan Youth Science and Technology Fund (2016JQ0039), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (2682017ZT05 and 2682017ZDPY05), and the State Key Laboratory of Traction Power at Southwest Jiaotong University (2015TPL_Z02 and 2016TPL_T01).
© 2017 Author(s).